Last chance to create network of Marine Conservation Zones in Dorset
Friday 30th September 2016
Additional marine areas in Dorset have been identified for protection in a new report, ‘The case for Marine Conservation Zones’ which has been published by the Wildlife Trusts today.
The report identifies 48 areas around England that, if designated, will complete a “blue-belt” of protected places for marine wildlife.
The areas The Wildlife Trusts and Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) have recommended to be designated Marine Conservation Zones (MCZ’s) in Dorset include Studland Bay, South of Portland and Broadbench to Kimmeridge.
More about the marine sites
Studland Bay, with its seagrass meadow, is home to both species of native seahorses, all six species of pipefish and is a nursery area for a number of commercial finfish such as pollack, black bream and bass.
South of Portland includes the Portland Deep - recognised as a nationally important geological feature and arguably Dorset’s most dramatic underwater landscape.
The Broadbench to Kimmeridge site as originally proposed was much too small to be viable and DWT is recommending a significant extension to include wave cut platforms that expose rock pools at low tide containing the rare peacock’s tail seaweed, the unusual iridescent magic seaweed, the tiny stalked jellyfish, and several species of blennies and clingfish.
These sites missed out on designation in the first and second phases of designation. In addition, there are also areas important for highly mobile species such as Lyme Bay Deeps for white-beaked dolphins and black bream nesting sites in Purbeck which are being recommended for protection.
Three sites - Poole Rocks, South Dorset and Chesil Beach and Stennis Ledges became Dorset’s first Marine Conservation Zones in 2013, adding to the previously designated European Marine Sites to contribute the overall network.
"Last chance to make a big difference for marine wildlife"
The Wildlife Trusts’ report has been published in advance of the Government’s plans to announce the third and final phase of Marine Conservation Zone designation, with public consultations for these areas taking place in 2017, and designation of the chosen areas in 2018.
DWT’s Living Seas Manager, Peter Tinsley said, “This is our last chance to make a big difference for marine wildlife. The Government committed to creating a ‘blue belt’ around the country, and these Dorset sites are essential links in that belt, protecting the diverse natural landscapes that exist beneath the waves off our coast. This final tranche of designation is about filling the gaps – a truly representative and well-connected network of properly protected sites can ensure a more resilient and productive marine environment for wildlife, for the people who rely on it to make their living and for those who simply enjoy it.”
Read the full report and find out more
To read the full report, and have your say and join as a MCZ friend to receive regular updates about MCZ designation, click here
Find out more about the Living Seas in Dorset here
For more information please contact Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01929 481044 or 01305 264620
Working for a secure future for Dorset’s wildlife enriching the quality of life
Dorset Wildlife Trust works to champion wildlife and natural places, to engage and inspire people and to promote sustainable living. Founded in 1961, DWT is now the largest voluntary nature conservation organisation in Dorset, with over 25,000 members and over 40 nature reserves. Most are open daily and there are visitor centres providing a wealth of wildlife information at Brooklands Farm, Lorton Meadows, Kingcombe Meadows and Brownsea Island Nature Reserves, The Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve and the Urban Wildlife Centre at Upton Heath Nature Reserve. DWT plays a key role in dealing with local environmental issues and leads the way in establishing the practices of sustainable development and engaging new audiences in conservation, particularly in the urban areas.
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