Battle to protect wildlife at sea receives boost

Durham Wildlife Trust welcomes possibility of 41 new Marine Conservation Zones.

Last week the government launched a consultation asking the public for their views about protecting a new group of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) – areas at sea where wildlife is protected from damaging activities. 41 special places have been chosen for the public to comment on; these range from seagrass beds in Studland Bay to the unique submarine limestone environment of the Durham Heritage Coast. 

Mark Dinning, Head of Conservation for Durham Wildlife Trust says:

“The Wildlife Trust has been calling for real protection to be provided for our diverse UK coastal waters since 2009. The designation of the first 50 marine conservation zones has laid the foundations in providing an ecological network of protected areas around the UK. Giving marine wildlife the chance to recover and thrive, where once it suffered the effects of pollution and over fishing. The provision of 41 new designated zones sees a commitment to realising a robust network which can achieve this vision. ”

Durham Wildlife Trust believes that the consultation is a big step in the right direction for England’s seas.  Proper protection of these sites after designation will mean that our seas will be given the opportunity to recover.

Mark Dinning continues:

“In Durham we have witnessed first-hand the negative impacts that decades of dumping mining spoil has had on our marine wildlife. We welcome the proposal of the new Durham Heritage Coast Marine Conservation Zone. Unique in the UK, this is the only place where rare Permian Magnesian Limestone is submarine. Today a nursery ground for juvenile cod, and supporting sponges, soft corals, hydroids, bryozoans and dahlia anemones, it stands testament to what is achievable when we address negative impacts on the marine environment. Protection of these sites is the basis for sound marine conservation in practice. Ensuring that the Government continues its support of these areas and seeks a connected network of protected sites, a ‘Blue Belt’ in our coastal waters if vitally important if we are to realise the natural richness our marine environment can offer.”

The Wildlife Trusts are calling on the public to back the 41 potential Marine Conservation Zones in the consultation – details of how to do this will be added to our MCZ page here. The consultation closes on Friday 20th July 2018.