Photo (above) by Chris Roberts and (below) Seagrass Rangers Lynne Marsland and Darren Lloyd by Julie Hatcher
A new report from Dorset Wildlife Trust’s (DWT) seagrass rangers has revealed that after speaking to 200 boaters in Studland Bay, 9 out of 10 said they were aware of marine wildlife beneath their keels, and 94% agreed that the marine wildlife should be protected.
However, fewer were aware of the bays importance as a nursery area for fish or the role seagrass plays in protecting the coast from erosion.
Shelter and quiet are the biggest attraction at Studland Bay
The report also stated that 83% listed ‘shelter’ as the biggest attraction to visit South Beach at Studland Bay, and over half said a ‘quiet’ area was the most important factor when choosing where to anchor.
The seagrass rangers spent this summer kayaking around Studland bay and visiting local marinas, talking to boat owners. Rangers wanted the opinions of owners on the best way to manage the site for the benefit of both people and wildlife and also handed out a new best-practice guide to anchoring in seagrass areas, which was produced by the RYA (Royal Yachting Association) with input from DWT.
Marine users keen to continue visitng the area
Studland seagrass ranger, Lynn Marsland said, “We have enjoyed talking with a wide range of boat owners at Studland over the summer and met some very friendly and interesting people with a wealth of knowledge. The marine users are very keen to continue visiting the area and had some excellent suggestions for management options to enable this, from voluntary no-anchor zones to eco-friendly moorings and enforcement of speed restrictions.”
Studland recommended to become a Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ)
Studland Bay has been recommended to become a Marine Conservation Zone as part of a new network of marine wildlife refuges that together, if properly managed, would help boost the health of our British seas and sealife, as well as supporting tourism and the enjoyment of boat owners. The Studland Bay MCZ has however been put on hold by the Government. The rangers also investigated the potential for local businesses and organisations to sponsor eco-moorings in the bay as an alternative to dropping anchor. Eco-friendly moorings are widely used in other parts of the world to protect sensitive seabed wildlife such as coral reefs and seagrass meadows.
To read the full report, please click here.
Notes to Editor
This project was funded by PANACHE. The PANACHE project is part funded by the Interreg Iva 2 Seas European Regional Development Fund Programme 2007 to 2013, aiming to raise awareness about, and engage local people in, monitoring sealife in Marine Protected Areas (MPA) along both sides of the Channel coast, including Dorset. For more information please click here.
For more information please contact Sally Welbourn at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01305 264620.
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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.