New website launched by conservationists & fishers about the benefits of Marine Protected Areas in Dorset

A new website about Marine Protected Areas (MPA’s) has been launched this week to highlight the important marine wildlife of Dorset. It aims to explain the complex and confusing system of Marine Protected Area management and to celebrate the benefits that come from careful stewardship, including high-quality seafood.

Over the last year Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT), along with partners from Southern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority, Natural England and National Trust, have worked with local fishers as part of a project to improve public awareness on how and why well-managed MPAs are an important boost for Dorset’s marine wildlife, the fishing industry, and tourism.  As part of the project, MPA Fishery Management Plans, leaflets and a website incorporating all the six MPAs in the Dorset, Devon and East Dorset area have been created.  Visitors to the website will be able to learn about activities in the water, the history of each MPA and, most importantly, the reasons behind the designation – the protected wildlife and habitats within. 

The Purbeck Coast MCZ is one of the MPAs within the project area.  It has a wide range of users – walkers for the stunning coastal scenery, families to the shallow accessible rockpools, water sports enthusiasts for the fabulous dive and snorkelling sites, and of course this rich marine diversity found within has sustained a well-managed traditional fisheries and recreational angling.

Emma Rance, Marine Conservation Officer, Dorset Wildlife Trust; “We are proud to have been part of this positive project.  Whilst we have long since known the benefits of MPAs, we hope that the website and leaflets offer clarity on the beauty, management and use for one and all to appreciate, safeguard and ultimately benefit from - be it through industry or wellbeing”.   

Rob Clark, Chief Officer Southern IFCA said, “We are delighted to have worked with representatives of Dorset’s coastal fishing communities and our partners on this project. The project really highlights the importance of collaboration and working together to achieve shared objectives. The management plans demonstrate and bring to life how, through effective fisheries and conservation management, the rich and diverse marine environment of Dorset is being protected whilst enabling low impact coastal fishing to continue and develop in a sustainable manner”. 

Dorset Wildlife Trust along with Southern IFCA has led the public engagement strand of the project for the summer season in 2019, attending events with the project’s educational van with hands on activities and audio-visual information on MPAs and species in Dorset.

For more information on the project click here. 

The MPA project educational trailer at Lulworth Summer 2019 © Emma Rance

The MPA project educational trailer at Lulworth Summer 2019 © Emma Rance