Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) provide an opportunity to halt and reverse the damage and degradation of the marine environment by controlling the human activities conducted in certain areas.
What are MCZs?
Protected areas, including Marine Conservation Zones, are one of the most crucial tools for conserving marine wildlife. As a result of the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009, a network of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) will be created that will protect marine species and habitats.
Recommendations for a network of 127 MCZs in all English seas and offshore Welsh waters were published by Defra in September 2011. These areas had been recommended through a stakeholder led process which included representatives from all marine sectors – from fishermen and the aggregates industry to divers and boat-users. The process enabled everyone to have their say over where MCZs should be located and was based on the best available evidence.
127 MCZ’s sounds great, so what’s happening now?
We are delighted to announce that Defra designated 27 Marine Conservation Zones (MCZ) in Parliament in 2013!
In Cornwall the following MCZs will be designated;
- Whitsand and Looe Bay
- Padstow Bay and surrounds
- Upper Fowey and Pont Pill
- The Manacles
Plus nearby sites;
- Isle of Scilly Sites
- Tamar Estuary Sites
- Lundy Island
A further two rounds of designations will take place in 2014/2015 and 2016/2017.
What next ?
The second tranche for Marine Conservation Zones designations, which will include some from the original 127 proposed areas and possibly some new areas, will be put up for public consultation in early 2015.
4 sites in Cornwall have been proposed for designation in this second round;
- Mounts Bay
- Land’s End
- Newquay and the Gannel
- Heartland to Tintagel
Many organisations are currently working hard to collect data to support the designations of all these sites.
How can I help?
There are many ways which you can help the MCZ process, in the coming years there will be more designations and we need your help to make sure as many go through as possible.
Help us collect data supportive data
Our closest proposed MCZ is Newquay and the Gannel, the Newquay Marine Group are running a series of dives and snorkels to collect the data they need to prove this area is worth protecting. Find out more about the work of the Newquay Marine Group and how to get involved with their work and join their facebook page
Tell us what wildlife you’ve seen!
We need as much evidence as possible to proof that these areas are important habitats which need protection. Without the evidence the areas wont be designated. We need you to send us your records of wildlife you see, not only around St. Agnes but all of Cornwall!
You can submit your sightings to the Environmental Records Center for Cornwall and Isles of Scilly through their online recording website www.orks.org.uk
Join the campaign!
When the next tranche is announced later this year, many groups and charities will launch into campaigning to Government in support of these designations. Help let the Government know that we want all 127 area designated!
Watch this space for further announcements!
Find out more about MCZ’s
Below are some links to charity and statutory organisation’s website for more information about Marine Conservation Zones and other Protected areas.