Second wave of marine protection for our seas

Monday 18th January 2016

Butterfish and hornwrack photographed off the Lincolnshire coastButterfish and hornwrack photographed off the Lincolnshire coast

23 new Marine Conservation Zones announced by the Government

Lincolnshire Wildlife Trusts welcomes the news that the Government is designating a second phase of 23 new Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs). This historic move illustrates a renewed impetus to protect the seas around our shores. It follows on from the announcement of 27 MCZs in 2013 and is the second of three phases promised by the Government in order to fulfil the remit of the Marine and Coastal Access Act.

The 23 new MCZs include six in the North Sea: Fulmar, Farnes East, Coquet to St Marys, Runswick Bay, Holderness Inshore and the Cromer Shoal Chalk Beds which are thought to be Europe’s largest chalk reef. All will contribute towards a network of areas which is urgently needed to ensure a healthy future for our seas.

North Sea Marine Advocacy Officer for the Wildlife Trusts, Bex Lynam said:

"We welcome the designation of 23 Marine Conservation Zones. UK seas have the potential to be full of incredible life and colour but continued destruction has reduced them to a shadow of their former selves. Whilst many view the North Sea as a bleak, cold and lifeless the seafloor is in fact a rich tapestry of wonderful marine habitats from kelp forests and sandy plains to chalk reefs and deep rocky gullies.”

Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust Chief Executive, Paul Learoyd said:

“These designations are a step in the right direction but there is still work to do to create the comprehensive network of sites needed to help our seas recover and thrive. The Government have confirmed that they intend to consult on a third tranche of sites in 2017 for designation in 2018. These sites should be our final gap fillers, completing our MCZ network. It is vital that this final tranche is ambitious and in particular addresses some of the large gaps that still exist in our network, including off the coast of Lincolnshire.

"We are grateful to all our members and the general public who have supported our calls for better protection for our seas and their wildlife and we will continue to campaign for protection in Lincolnshire.”

The list of Marine Conservation Zones was drawn-up by sea-users, scientists and conservationists, with Government committing to designating the sites in three waves or tranches. The Wildlife Trusts, actively involved in every step of the process, are buoyed by the achievement of another important milestone on the road to better protected seas. We are calling for anyone interested in protecting our seas to join more than 8,000 other passionate supporters and become a Friend of MCZs


Tagged with: Living Seas