Marine Conservation Zones – Have Your Say
The Angling Trust has issued a release about the Public Consultation on Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) - and it's time to act.
The Angling Trust say:
The Government is currently carrying out a public consultation on the 31 Marine Conservation Zones that are to be considered for designation in 2013.These sites have been chosen by Defra on the basis of the benefits they offer, how much these benefits outweigh the costs of designating the sites and the evidence supporting the reason for protecting them.
The consultation will close at Midnight on March 31st 2013. This is YOUR opportunity to comment on the proposed sites and highlight your support, or concerns, over the areas under consideration.
The consultation documents can be found HERE along with all the supporting information.
The Angling Trust will be responding to the consultation but we would encourage you to send us details of your response to the consultation so that we can include the views of our members in our response. Amongst other points the Angling Trust's response will include:
1. Disappointment that only 31 of the 127 recommended sites have been proposed for the first tranche.
2. Concerns about displacement of commercial fishing effort.
3. Concerns regarding the lack of interim protection for remaining sites that might be reconsidered for protecting in future tranches.
4. Concerns about the socio-economic impact on coastal communities of any restrictive measures on recreational angling activity.
5. Highlighting that the value of recreational sea angling (RSA)has only been included for a handful of the proposed sites, despite there being substantial RSA activity in most of the proposed inshore sites. This short-coming needs to be corrected (especially as RSA forms the large percentage of total cost where it has been included).
6. The decision not to include management measures in the current consultation makes it very difficult for respondents to know what the outcome of designation of the 31 recommended sites will be on recreational sea angling.
7. A re-emphasis of our long-standing position that there is no need for restriction of RSA activities in the proposed sites.
The sites considered good for designation in 2013 for the South East (Balanced Seas) are:
Stour and Orwell Estuaries
Blackwater, Crouch, Roach and Colne Estuaries
Beachy Head West
No Reference Areas (where recreational angling would definitely have been prohibited) have been put forward. However, the possible management measures of the recommended sites have not been made public. Therefore, while we expect the impact on recreational sea angling to be extremely small, any such impacts will not be known until after the public consultation closes. However there are some, the proposed No Trawl zone Between Eastbourne and Hastings which have not been included despite compelling scientific evidence highlighting the damage towed gear does to the sea bed and some rare marine animals and fish in this zone.
A response form is included as annex H to the consultation document. Responses should be sent by post to:
c/o Post Room
17 Smith Square
Or by email to: email@example.com
Please remember to copy your response to us so that we can reflect the concerns of our members in our response.
Future Designation of MCZs
Annexes A.2 - A.5 list the conservation zone sites requiring further consideration for possible designation in future tranches. We urge you to include comments on any of these sites in any response you make to the consultation.
In selecting sites for designation in any future tranches Defra will consider:
• The responses to this consultation including any suggestions for alternative sites for MCZs
• The contribution needed to achieve the UK's obligation towards establishing ecologically coherent networks taking account of sites designated by neighbouring UK administrations and neighbouring EU member states
• The review of Reference Areas
• Costs of sites to both industry and the public sector.
Sites not suitable for designation:
Where a site's conservation advantages were considered not to outweigh the socio-economic costs then the MCZ was not considered appropriate for designation. Remember, this is your opportunity to make your views known. We encourage you to do so before March 31.