Thursday, 17 May 2012

Marine Conservation Zones

The Welsh Government is currently consulting on 10 potential sites as options for further consideration as highly protected marine conservation zones, on the basis that the Welsh Government intends to designate no more than 3-4 sites....This consultation is the first in an iterative process consisting of 3 consultation phases.

You can download the consultation document from the Welsh Government's website.

On Ynys Môn there are two potential sites - Puffin Island and a section of the shoreline on the North East of Menai Strait.

Within the potential highly protected marine conservations zones, there will be strict conditions attached which the consultation explains:

The best way of achieving this is to afford the sites a high level of protection where they are protected from the extraction and deposition of living and non-living resources plus all other damaging or disturbing activities to support as natural an ecological state as possible.

 Extractive, depositional, damaging and disturbing activities have been defined in the site selection guidance [..] as follows:

  • An extractive activity is defined as an act that involves the temporary or permanent removal or attempted removal, of any living organism or non-living material or natural feature from the marine environment. An exemption to this is the removal of man-made litter.
  • A depositional activity is defined as an act that involves the laying down, movement or discharge of living or non-living materials or substance into the marine environment. This includes deposit of materials such as rocks, gravel or sand, building of structures, and the release of any polluting or toxic or chemical substances, as well as the discharge of ballast, untreated human waste, biodegradable and industrial waste and the discard of fish offal and by catch.
  • A damaging activity is defined as an act that potentially results in permanent or temporary physical harm or injury to species, or cause permanent or temporary alteration to natural features within the marine environment. Physical damage would count as something which reduces an organism’s ability to operate in a natural.
With such strict conditions there are concerns that the potential highly protected marine zones could harm the legitimate businesses of some people and/or the leisure activities of others with consequential damage to the tourist trade.

The Daily Post on Thursday had a report on 'Coastal communities up in arms over planned marine zones'.

As part of the first stage of the consultation the Welsh Government is collecting evidence from those likely to be affected by any potential marine conservation zone.

For example for the potential zone at Puffin Island they ask

Do you currently use or enjoy or plan to use or enjoy the sea or coast within or near this site?

If so tell us:

Where exactly?

What activity or pastime are you involved in?

How often do you do the activity or enjoy the pastime?

How important is the activity or pastime to you?

Therefore if you are concerned that any of the potential sites may unduly affect your livelihood and/or enjoyment of the natural environment it's important that you let the Welsh Government know. You can download a consultation response form (in word format) from the Welsh Governments  website

The consultation closes on 31 July 2012.

Please note: words in italics are extracts from the Welsh Government's Consultation Document.

1 comment:

The Red Flag said...

As a leisure sea angler I reckon these MCZs are way overdue and there should be more of them and they should be larger in size.

The fish need somewhere to go to to breed where they are safe and where they can breed unhindered in suffiient numbers so that adjoining 'free' areas can re-stock.

That also in turn means that their food source - including mussels etc, is also safe

If I had my way I would draw a line from Beaumaris to Llanfairfechan, then from the Great Orme to Point lynas and declare the whole of that an MCZ and several more of equal size or bigger right around Wales.