27 new Marine Conservation Zones announced
Total falls short of the 127 areas BSAC campaigned for
The UK is to benefit from 27 new Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs), located all around our coastline.
DEFRA, the government department responsible, made the announcement yesterday.
10,000 sq km of protected waters
The new MCZs will help protect our rich marine life, and join the roster of more than 500 marine protected areas that already exist in the UK.
Coral reefs, jellyfish and seahorses are just some of the critters facing a better future under the new legislation.
In total, some 10,000sq km of waters – 8,000 offshore and 2,000 inshore – make up the 27 new sites.
This is an area the size of Wiltshire. Diving hotspots include the perennial favourite, Chesil Beach, home to the annual migration of Trigger Fish.
Other well-known new MCZs are located in Padstow Bay, Beachy Head, and the Isles of Scilly.
Damaging activities will now be restricted at these sites to protect marine flora and fauna.
Making the announcement, Marine Environment Minister George Eustice said: “These Marine Conservation Zones will safeguard a wide range of precious sea life from seahorses to oyster beds and our ambitions do not end there.
“This is just the beginning, we plan two further phases over the next three years and work to identify these will begin shortly.”
Second edition of John Lamb's 1999 reference work
Innovative new BCD due to arrive in late 2017