Battle to protect wildlife at sea receives boost today

Friday 8th June 2018

Cornwall Wildlife Trust welcomes the possibility of eight new Marine Conservation Zones in Cornish waters, to better protect our seas.

Today the government has launched a consultation asking the public for their views on protecting a new group of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) in England – areas at sea where a range of rare and threatened species and habitats are protected from damaging activities. 41 special places have been chosen across England for the public to comment on, 8 of which are around the Cornish coast. These sites cover over 7,000km2 of beautiful, wildlife-rich marine habitats, ranging from the rocky shores of the Camel Estuary to the rich, muddy depths of the South-west Deeps.

Cornwall Wildlife Trust is asking people with a passion for our oceans to make their voices heard over the coming weeks, to respond to the consultation and support the designation of these sites for better protection of our living seas.

Ruth Williams, Marine Conservation Manager for the Trust says,

“This is the much needed next step towards an effective network of protected areas at sea. Designating these additional 8 sites as Marine Conservation Zones in Cornwall will go some way to guaranteeing a future for the extraordinarily diverse natural landscapes that exist beneath the waves off our coast. We really need people to support this consultation and get behind the Trusts’ campaign to ensure Government designate these special areas and that they are managed effectively for the future.”

Cornwall Wildlife Trust believes that the consultation is a big step in the right direction for Cornwall’s seas and towards a truly coherent network of marine protected areas across England, and the wider UK waters. Proper protection of these sites after designation will mean that our seas will be given the opportunity to recover and thrive.

Joan Edwards, Director of Living Seas at The Wildlife Trusts says,

“We’ve been calling for the government to give real protection to a connected network of diverse sea-bed habitats since 2009. Only 50 have been designated so far and this new consultation on 41 special places is really good news. We need to restore the sea-bed that has been ravaged over the past century and allow fragile marine life to recover – and this can only be done with good management. Without these astonishing submerged landscapes, there simply wouldn't be any fish, let alone fantastic jewel anemones, seahorses, and all the other wild and extraordinary creatures which are part of a healthy marine ecosystem.”

Cornwall Wildlife Trusts are calling on the public to back the Marine Conservation Zones in the consultation – details of how to do this will be added to our Marine Conservation Zones page here.

The consultation closes on Friday 20th July 2018.