Time to speak up for protection for our seas
Added: 8th June 2012Devon Wildlife Trust launches new campaign for marine advocates
100 years ago The Wildlife Trusts’ founder Charles Rothschild first championed the concept of a network of nature reserves on land. Since then vital wildlife sites have secured protection and are now valued by society. Not so at sea.
A hundred years on and the first national network of potential marine protected areas has been identified: 127 Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) have been recommended to the Government for protection, of which 16 are found off Devon such as the rocky reefs of Lyme Bay, rugged coastline of Hartland Point to Tintagel and the Tamar Estuary in the South of the county.
All were selected through consultation with more than one million stakeholders. However, the Government has stalled designation of any sites until 2013, citing lack of evidence. There are indications that even then only a small proportion will eventually be designated.
Devon Wildlife Trust today launches a campaign to recruit ‘Friends of Marine Conservation Zones’. The campaign is linked to a new online resource - the first of its kind - providing details of locations, species and habitats for all 127 recommended MCZs. By creating accessible information about all 127 sites, Devon Wildlife Trust hopes to inspire individuals, companies and organisations to stand up for the extraordinary marine species and habitats around Devon.
Harry Barton, Chief Executive for Devon Wildlife Trust, said: “It took more than 34 years to get protection for sites on land. We must ensure the 127 recommended MCZs do not face the same fate in having to wait long for protection. Whilst the Government treads water, wildlife-rich areas in our seas continue to suffer degradation.
“We need all 127 recommended sites to be designated, and soon – a full and functioning network covering the complete range of habitats and species.”
The Wildlife Trusts’ new online resource provides information on each of the 127 Marine Conservation Zones recommended to Government. It outlines the special features of these precious areas, and illustrates why we simply cannot afford to lose even one of them. To find out more about your local recommended Marine Conservation Zone, and sign up to be a Friend, visit www.wildlifetrusts.org/MCZfriends