Welsh Government’s long awaited first public consultation on the location of new Marine Conservation Zones was launched in April, and will continue until 31st July. The consultation considers ten potential sites in Welsh inshore waters, six of which are in north Wales and four of which lie off the coast of WTSWW’s ‘patch’ in south west Wales. These four are Skomer, Dale, south west of Strumble Head, and an offshore area near New Quay.
Welsh Government have stated that they expect that of these ten, only three or four sites will be designated in 2014. In contrast to processes underway elsewhere in the UK, Welsh Government intend for these sites to be highly protected from all activities which could change, damage of disturb the site. However, under current definitions, this may include activities that we consider to be environmentally benign and sustainable.
Wildlife Trusts Wales welcomes Welsh Government’s plans to introduce greater protection for Welsh seas. Our key priority is that the best possible gains are made for the protection of the rich and diverse wildlife found in the sea around Wales. However, we also work at a local level with a wide range of sea users and coastal communities around the Welsh coast, supporting sustainable marine activities. Therefore, rather than the exclusive use of highly protected Marine Conservation Zones, we believe Marine Conservation Zones management should be considered on a site by site basis, enabling sustainable local activities to continue within sites (or parts of) where appropriate.
We recognise the value of having areas of the sea free from disturbance, but feel a higher number of MCZs, including smaller highly protected areas within their boundaries, would present greater benefits to the protection of Welsh seas. This zoned approach would enable the creation of small and carefully chosen highly protected MCZs, whilst protecting areas within the wider MCZ from highly damaging activities and allowing sustainable, local activities to continue.
The designation of new sites should also be accompanied by the improved management of our existing protected areas, which will play a critical role in our journey towards achieving Living Seas in Wales.
We need your help
We need your help to show Welsh Government the level of support for greater protection of Welsh seas. To help you get involved, follow the steps below:
- If you haven’t already done so, sign our Petition to show your support for well-managed Marine Protected Areas
- Download the template response and fill in your details. You can either send it as it is or add your own personal comments/ information on any of the ten sites being considered.
- Attach the response to an email and send to both Marine@wales.gsi.gov.uk & email@example.com. Alternatively for the postal address, click here.