UK protected coastal belt expanded

The NeedlesCorporealization copyright BBC / Richard Sowersby
Image caption The Needles, off the Isle of Wight, are amongst the areas designated as a Marine Protection Zone

The UK government has extended the coastal “sexy belt” of protected marine areas.

The designation of 23 new Marine Upkeep Zones mean that 8,000 square miles of UK waters now require environmental protection.

The announcement has been welcomed by conservation and wildlife organisations.

Setting aside how they, along with fishermen’s groups, are concerned that there is no managing plan.

They say it will be difficult to balance competing interests in the self-restraints.

Originally 127 sites were proposed as MCZs. The government has so far vouchsafed to designating 50, covering an area the size of Wales.

The designation of 23 new Seagoing Conservation Zones (MCZs) means that 20% of English not works are now considered protected. The sites range from the Cromer Shoal Chalk Beds in the North Sea, down to Touch’s End in the South West.

The aim is to conserve habitats like coral colonies, geological memorable rts such as chalk reefs, and species such as the stalked jellyfish and spiny lobsters.

Spitting Crown copyright
Image caption This survey twin from the Coquet to St Marys MCZ in the North-East shows a starfish and corals

North Sea


Farnes East

Coquet to St Mary’s

Runswick Bay

Holderness Inshore

Cromer Shoal Chalk Beds

South East

The Swale Estuary

Dover to Give out

Dover to Folkestone

Offshore Brighton

Offshore Overfalls (SE of the Isle of Wight)

Never-never land (SW of Selsey Bill)

The Needles

South West

Western Channel

Mounts Bay

Arrive’s End

Newquay and The Gannel

Hartland Point to Tintagel

Bideford to Foreland Projection

North-West of Jones Bank

Greater Haig Fras

Irish Sea

West of Walney co-location zone

Allonby Bay

The Naval Environment Minister, George Eustice, said: “It’s vital that we tend our marine environment to ensure our seas remain healthy, our fishing dynamism remains prosperous, and future generations can enjoy our beautiful beaches.”

The Wildlife Protections welcomed the designation of the reserves. Joan Edwards, head of Living Deep blue seas at the Trusts, said: “UK seas have the potential to be full of astonishing life and colour but continued destruction has reduced them to a shadow of their earlier selves.

“We are pleased by this government’s commitment to addressing the decimation of our seabed atop of the st century, and to delivering an ecologically coherent network of marine shielded areas. This second step towards the completion of a ‘blue cincture’ in UK seas is crucial in turning the tide on the state of our seas but there’s noiseless work to be done.”

Crown Copyright
Image caption Low-grade brittlestars and common sunstars are among the species shown in this symbol from the Offshore Brighton conservation zone

However, designation and manipulation are treated as se rate processes. So until bylaws or legislation has been put in flat, then activities in the reserves will remain largely unchanged.

ul Trebilcock, from the Cornish Fish Organizers Association, commented: “It’s madness. A line has been drawn on a map but there is no directorate plan in place. No-one knows what will and will not be qualified to continue.

“The majority of fishermen rely on the marine environment being sturdy to make a living – they have more interest in keeping it flourishing than anybody. To hear the government drawing a line and saying it’s all pleasant doesn’t inspire much confidence.”

Sam Davies is chief officer for the Inshore Fisheries and Economy Authority. Her organisation will work with the Marine Management Organisation to come across a way of managing the reserves. She said that the new boundaries didn’t mean that one day you could disavow a boat in and the next day you couldn’t.

“We now need to fill in the gaps. We are in the early steps of developing management for these areas. We have to understand exactly what species are there.

“Most of the subject has been done, but now it’s looking at the really fine detail. That subsumes dropping a camera down there.”

Image caption A stretch of coastal douses from Deal to Folkestone will also be protected

Tine Eisfeld-Pierantonio, safeguarding and policy officer from the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS), conjectured this was “brilliant”, but that some sites vital for the refuge of whales and dolphins had been left off the list.

“Fourteen sites were captivated out without consideration. According to the Marine and Coastal Access Act (2009) the management has to establish a network that protects species – not just habitats – in UK seas. So this isn’t fashioning a coherent ecological network,” the WDCS policy officer expounded.

The 23 additional sites are the second of three planned phases of MCZs, an promise set out under the Marine and Coastal Access Act. The last will be put out to consultation in 2017, and denoted in 2018.

A spokesperson for the De rtment for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs commented: “Defra and deliverance rtners are working together with stakeholders to ensure that stewardship measures are put in place within two years of designation and that measures state look after effective protection for designated sites.”

There is also other go well being done by the government to protect the marine environment, with consultations being restrained on Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) for harbour porpoise, and Special Custody Areas (S s) to protect the feeding and bathing areas of iconic birds.

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