Public get say on conservation zones

Public consultation on marine conservation zones act now to make your views known

As you may be aware, the Government is currently carrying out a public consultation on the 31 Marine Conservation Zones that are to be considered for designation in 2013.

These sites have been chosen by Defra on the basis of the benefits they offer, how much these benefits outweigh the costs of designating the sites and the evidence supporting the reason for protecting them.

The consultation will close at Midnight on March 31st  2013. This is YOUR opportunity to comment on the proposed sites and highlight your support, or concerns, over the areas under consideration.

The consultation documents can be found HERE along with all the supporting information (there is a lot).

The Angling Trust will be responding to the consultation but we would encourage you to send us details of your response to the consultation so that we can include the views of our members in our response. Amongst other points the Angling Trust's response will include:

1. Disappointment that only 31 of the 127 recommended sites have been proposed for the first tranche.
2. Concerns about displacement of commercial fishing effort
3. Concerns regarding the lack of interim protection for remaining sites that might be reconsidered for protecting in future tranches.
4. Concerns about the socio-economic impact on coastal communities of any restrictive measures on recreational angling activity.
5. Highlighting that the value of recreational sea angling (RSA)has only been included for a handful of the proposed sites, despite there being substantial RSA activity in most of the proposed inshore sites. This short-coming needs to be corrected (especially as RSA forms the large percentage of total cost where it has been included).
6. The decision not to include management measures in the current consultation makes it very difficult for respondents to know what the outcome of designation of the 31 recommended sites will be on recreational sea angling.
7. A re-emphasis of our long-standing position that there is no need for restriction of RSA activities in the proposed sites.

The sites considered good for designation in 2013 are:

Within the Irish Sea Conservation Zone regional project (North West)

Cumbria Coast
Fylde Offshore
Hilbre Island Group
North of Celtic Deep

Within the Finding Sanctuary regional project area (South West)

East of Haig Fras
Southwest Deeps (West)
The Canyons
Lundy
Padstow Bay and Surrounds
Isles of Scilly
The Manacles
Upper Fowey and Pont Pill
Whitsand and Looe Bay
Tamar Estuary
Skerries Bank and Surround
Torbay
Chesil Beach and Stennis Ledges
South of Dorset
Poole Rocks

Within the Balanced Seas regional project area (South East)

Stour and Orwell Estuaries
Blackwater, Crouch, Roach and Colne Estuaries
Medway Estuary
Thanet Coast
Folkestone Pomerania
Hythe Bay
Beachy Head West
Kingmere
Pagham Harbour

Within the Net Gain regional project area (North East)

Aln Estuary
Swallow Sands
Rock Unique

No Reference Areas (where recreational angling would definitely have been prohibited) have been put forward. However, the possible management measures of the recommended sites have not been made public. Therefore, while we expect the impact on recreational sea angling to be extremely small, any such impacts will not be known until after the public consultation closes.

A response form is included as annex H to the consultation document. Responses should be sent by post to:

MCZ team
c/o Post Room
Nobel House
17 Smith Square
London
SW1P 3JR

Or by email to: mcz@defra.gsi.gov.uk

Please remember to copy your response to us so that we can reflect the concerns of our members in our response.

Future Designation of More MCZs
Annexes A.2 - A.5 list the conservation zone sites requiring further consideration for possible designation in future tranches. We urge you to include comments on any of these sites in any response you make to the consultation.

In selecting sites for designation in any future tranches Defra will consider:

  • The responses to this consultation including any suggestions for alternative sites for MCZs
  • The contribution needed to achieve the UK's obligation towards establishing ecologically coherent networks taking account of sites designated by neighbouring UK administrations and neighbouring EU member states
  • The review of Reference Areas
  • Costs of sites to both industry and the public sector.

Sites not suitable for designation:
Where a site's conservation advantages were considered not to outweigh the socio-economic costs then the MCZ was not considered appropriate for designation.

Remember, this is your opportunity to make your views known. We encourage you to do so before March 31st.