Above: Seahorse © Julie Hatcher. Below: Juvenile Undulate ray © Christine Roberts & Juvenile Bream © Mike Markey
Studland Bay is the only Dorset site being considered in the current round of Marine Conservation Zone designations. 37 sites around England are being considered to join the developing network of MCZs and will only be designated if there is sufficient evidence to show how important they are for wildlife and local communities, and if there is strong local support for them.
This site has been selected for a variety of reasons, including:
- as a nursery area for the endangered Undulate Ray
- as a breeding site for both British species of seahorse
- as an important nursery area for juvenile fish and shellfish of commercial importance
- Seagrass Meadows are recognised as an internationally important marine habitat under threat from a variety of human impacts
- as home to the European Oyster
The Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts is working with Dorset Wildlife Trust to ensure all the supporting evidence is collated and presented to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to enable a balanced decision to be made on designation of Studland Bay as a MCZ.
Help to win the protection of Studland Bay
There are two ways you can be actively involved in winning the protection Studland Bay deserves.
- Firstly you can carry out a Mermaid’s Purse hunt on your local Dorset beach to record which species of shark, skate or ray inhabit its local waters. Previous records have shown that while Undulate Ray eggcases make up less than 2% of all eggcases found on other beaches in Dorset, at Swanage and Studland they make up 60%. We now need more up-to-date records for comparison.
- Register your support by becoming a Marine Conservation Zone Friend of Studland Bay. You will be sent monthly updates on progress and asked to help by sending a response during the public consultation period in early 2015. Your support could make all the difference!