Marine Conservation Zones
Protecting Devon's seas
Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) are a type of protected area at sea where human activity is restricted to protect marine wildlife and habitats
Devon has 15 MCZs
A further nine sites off the coast of Devon were included in the latest tranche of sites to be given greater protection in a bid to help our struggling marine wildlife. This brings the total for Devon to 15 Marine Conservation Zones.
This success is thanks to years of sustained lobbying of government and the support of hundreds of local campaigners and supporters who pledged their support for marine protected areas.
Thanks to public support and campaigns the following Devon marine sites now enjoy protected MCZ status:
Lundy, Torbay, and Tamar Estuary. Skerries Bank and surrounds – an area extending offshore both west and east of Start Point. Bideford to Foreland Point and Hartland Point to Tintagel. Joining these sites are now Erme, Avon, Dart, Axe and Otter Estuaries, Morte Platform, East of Start Point, North West of Lundy and South West Approaches to the Bristol Channel.
But these areas need greater protection
Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) would offer the strictest possible protections for the marine environment, giving nature the best chance of recovery. By removing all pressures (e.g fishing, sea angling, construction), our shallow seas, diverse seabeds and deep underwater canyons can become healthier, more productive and full of life once more.
In 2019 an independent panel was tasked by the Government to review how and whether HPMAs could be introduced to English waters. The panel's recommendations have now been published - and we're delighted that these are in line with what we asked for. The headlines in the report include:
- HPMAs should ban all destructive activities including fishing and only allow non-damaging levels of other activities e.g. swimming, kayaking, scuba diving.
- HPMAs should take a whole-site approach, protecting all species and habitats within their boundaries.
- HMPA sites should have sufficient geographic spread to cover nearshore, inshore and offshore waters and different regional seas.
The Government must implement the recommendations as soon as possible, and publish an ambitious HPMA delivery plan within the year.
Raise your hand and join us in calling on the Government to implement HPMAs - click here to sign: https://action.wildlifetrusts.org/page/61642/data/1
Become a member and support our work
The vital work we do for nature depends on the support of people who care about the future of Devon’s wildlife and wild places.