Public support needed for last chance to help protect our seas

The Wildlife Trusts are asking the public to add their “wave of support” to 41 potential new Marine Conservation Zones in England, following the announcement last week that a 6-week public consultation period has started to decide whether the new sites should be designated.
 
Six out of the 41 proposed sites are in Dorset: Albert Field; Purbeck Coast; South of Portland; Southbourne Rough; Studland Bay and West of Wight-Barfleur. These cover a wide range of underwater landscapes and habitats, from deep, tide-swept rocky cliffs to sheltered seagrass meadows.
 
In 2013, three MCZs were designated in Dorset: Chesil Beach & Stennis Ledges MCZ, South Dorset MCZ and Poole Rocks MCZ.
 
Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) welcomes the third tranche of recommended sites and needs support from the public to get these sites designated as MCZs to allow recovery from damaging activities. Proper protection of these sites will allow marine wildlife such as black bream, spiny seahorses and peacock’s tail seaweed to thrive in Dorset.
 
DWT’s Living Seas Policy & Evidence Manager, Peter Tinsley said, “This is a great step in the right direction for England’s seas and it is vital that all 41 of these sites are designated, not just the ones in Dorset, to create a network of protected areas. In Dorset, our seas have many uses and provide many benefits for us – for recreation, health & wellbeing and the economy to name a few. This is our last chance to ensure they are protected in the long-term so both wildlife and people can benefit.”
 
DWT is calling on the public to back the 41 potential Marine Conservation Zones by giving their ‘wave of support’ by signing an online petition at www www.wildlifetrusts.org/waveofsupport The consultation ends on 20th July.
 
To find out about all 41 sites across England, visit www.wildlifetrusts.org/mcz.