|Protection for Studland Bay’s wildlife gets the support of most visiting boat users, according to a new study. The Studland Seagrass and Seahorse Project Report, produced by Dorset Wildlife Trust with funding from Natural England, reveals that the majority of boat owners visiting the popular anchorage are keen to preserve its habitat and wildlife.
The report follows a questionnaire survey carried out by DWT wardens, using a kayak to approach boats moored in the bay and also visiting nearby marinas. The survey found that four out of five boat visitors at Studland come from within Dorset and most visit Studland more than five times, while more than a quarter visit at least 15 times, each year. The survey also found that awareness raising campaigns have been successful as the majority of boating visitors were aware of the Voluntary No Anchor Zone, set up last year to monitor the effects of anchoring.
Keen to help and support
Julie Hatcher, Marine Awareness Officer at Dorset Wildlife Trust, said: “This project has given boat visitors the opportunity to find out more about the seagrass meadows and other marine life of this nationally important site and also share their views on its future management. Boat users are not only supportive of the wildlife but have shown that they are keen to suggest and co-operate with measures to protect the habitat while still allowing people to enjoy the bay. ”
The most frequent suggestions on how the bay could be managed for the benefit of the marine wildlife were to increase the number of mooring buoys, with 66% preferring to pick up a mooring buoy than to drop anchor. Other suggestions included increasing the size of the voluntary no-anchor zone and enforcement of the existing speed limit.
Studland Bay has been recommended for protection as one of the new Marine Conservation Zones promised by the Government for 2012, because of its variety of seabed and shoreline habitats, short-snouted seahorses, undulate ray and native oyster. It is also home to spiny seahorses, making it the only known breeding site for both British species.
For more information and the full Seahorse and Seagrass Study Report, visit the Studland Seahorses page.
Notes to Editor
For more information please contact Julie Hatcher at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01929 481044.
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About Dorset Wildlife Trust www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk
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.
Spiny seahorse at Studland Bay
Photo by Emma Rance
Photo by Dorset Wildlife Trust