Results of the second tranche of Marine Conservation Zones
Waking up today to some great news for marine life – 23 new Marine Conservation Zones have been announced. These newly announced sites will cover more than 10,000 square kilometres of our oceans and will hopefully protect species including the rare pink sea-fan, ross worms, coral colonies, chalk reefs, stalked jellyfish, native oysters and spiny lobsters.
The 23 announced MCZs are from the second tranche in creating a network of protected areas around the United Kingdom. The first tranche had 27 sites, totalling 9,664 square kilometres, designated as marine conservation zones back in November 2013. This brings the total to now 50.
These latest results followed a consultation that began almost a year ago and more information can be found here: https://www.sciencenutshell.com/consultation-on-marine-conservation-zones-around-the-uk-coast-is-now-live/
A third tranche will now follow to complete an ecologically coherent network of sites around English waters. Originally 127 sites were proposed as MCZs back in 2011. After two of the three tranches the government has so far only comitted to designating 50. While it is an encouraging step as our “Blue Belt” extends a little bit further we can always do more.
What’s slightly worrying is that there has been no management or legislation implemented with the exception of marine licensing. DEFRA have planned to put management measures in place within two years of designation to protect these newly designated sites. Fishing activities and recreation will be assessed by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) or by the (IFCA) and offshore fisheries will be assessed through the Common Fisheries Policy.
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