Marine conservation zone
What is a Marine Conservation Zone...and why is Living Coasts supporting it?
Living Coasts, as part of the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust, has the vision ‘a world rich in wildlife and wild places’. This very much includes the marine environment, and Living Coasts is the Trust’s voice for coastal wildlife.
Marine habitats are extremely biodiverse – but are massively under protected. The protection of the marine habitats, and their biodiversity, is decades behind that of terrestrial habitats. There is human pressure both above and below the waves that directly affects this biodiversity. This human pressure comes in many forms, from the shipping highway and the human playground, to the fishing industry.
In Torbay the reefs and seagrass beds provide immensely rich and valuable habitats as nursery grounds for many fish species and homes for such enigmatic species as the seahorse. They are hotspots for marine biodiversity.
Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) are Marine Protected Areas and the plan is to create a network of them all around England to conserve the amazing diversity of species and habitats in our waters.
The problem with the marine world is ‘out of sight, out of mind’ so Living Coasts has helped campaign for a Marine Conservation Zone in Torbay by raising awareness of marine wildlife and marine conservation issues with visitors on site, schools and colleges, local authorities, businesses and other organisations and specialist groups. These issues include
- The biodiversity of the seas, the weird and wonderful creatures that can be found under the waves especially locally
- The need to conserve our seas
- Overfishing and the problems of bycatch and destructive fishing methods
- Plastics in our seas
The Torbay MCZ was designated in 2013 but Living Coasts continues to campaign with the Marine Conservation Society, and many other organisations, for the network of Marine Conservation Zones around the country.
So far 50 have been designated in English waters, 27 in 2013 including Torbay and a further 23 in 2017.
A consultation was run from 8 June 2018 to 20 July 2018 seeking views on plans to designate 41 Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) around the UK and views on proposed new features to be added to 12 existing MCZs.
DEFRA are currently analysing responses to this consultation and these will feed into the final decisions on sites to be designated in 2019. DEFRA plan to publish a summary of responses to this consultation alongside the final decisions on sites to be designated by June 2019.
Torbay's Marine Conservation Zone
We are pleased to have the Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) in Torbay and to collaborate with many other organisations to make it work for wildlife and people.
Aims and Objectives
- We need people from across the community to support MCZs
- We support sustainable fisheries and promote sustainable seafood
- We support environmentally responsible recreation
- We aim to educate and advocate for marine conservation and biodiversity
- We aim to promote the value of the sea for all, for biodiversity and as life on Earth's support system
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