The government is consulting on 41 new Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs). If designated this would take the number of MCZs from 50 to 91 and increase the area protected to 32,000 square km.
A number of new MCZs in the South West are proposed including:
- the Camel Estuary, Cornwall
- the Dart Estuary, Devon
- the Helford Estuary, Cornwall
- the Purbeck Coast, Dorset
If designated as an MCZ, the Marine Management Organisation may then make byelaws to enhance the protection given to the designated features of the MCZ. Byelaws can include restrictions on entry into the MCZ, speed restrictions of vessels and restrictions on fishing etc. in the MCZ.
The consultation is due to close on 20 July 2018.
The UK is surrounded by some of the richest and most diverse sea life in the world. The sites proposed in this consultation protect a range of rare and threatened species and habitats found in our seas, including: seahorses in seagrass meadows; blue mussel beds supporting sea snails and crabs; cold-water coral reefs with starfish, anemones and sponges; and deep water mud habitats with cockles and sea urchins.