Closed – Marine Conservation Zones – Tranche 2 Consultation Opens

Closes 24th April 2015

Defra has announced a consultation on the next round of Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) designations – Tranche 2 – which runs from 30th January to 24th April 2015.

The consultation also includes  proposals for new features for conservation in 10 of the Tranche 1 MCZs already designated.

In the Irish Sea the new MCZs being consulted upon are:

Allonby Bay – a 40 km² site which stretches along the coast approximately 9 km from Dubmill Point to just north of Maryport and out from the intertidal zone to approximately 5.5 km off the coast. The site includes the following features: high energy intertidal rock, moderate energy intertidal rock, low energy intertidal rock, intertidal biogenic reefs, intertidal coarse sediment, intertidal sand and muddy sand, moderate energy infralittoral rock, subtidal mixed sediments, blue mussel (Mytilus edulis) beds, peat and clay exposures, honeycomb worm (Sabellaria alveolat) reefs. The general management approach is ‘maintain at favourable condition’.

West of Walney – a 388 km² site west of Walney Island, mostly in inshore waters but with a small amount going over the 12 nm boundary. The site includes the following features: subtidal mud, subtidal sand, mud habitats in deep water, sea-pen and burrowing megafauna communities. The general management approach is ‘recover to favourable condition’.

And the existing MCZ for which an additional feature – in this case subtidal mud – is proposed is Fylde – a 260 km2 site in the inshore waters of the eastern Irish Sea. This feature is currently in favourable condition so the general management approach is ‘maintain at favourable condition’

In total only 23 new sites are being proposed, a reduction from the 37 candidate tranche 2 sites announced last year. A further tranche of sites will be put forward in the future and  may contain some or all of the 14 lost from this round.

Sites in the Irish Sea and SW waters dropped from the current round of consultation include MCZ proposals in offshore waters adjacent to Wales (Celtic Deep, South of Celtic Deep, East of Celtic Deep, Mid St George’s Channel, North St George’s Channel) as there has been a recommendation from an independent commission considering devolution that offshore waters adjacent to Wales should be the responsibility of the Welsh Government, although this has not yet been agreed.

Other sites Irish Sea and SW waters dropped from this round of consultation include (Mud Hole; South Rigg; Slieve Na Griddle; Celtic Deep). These are all mud seabed habitats and have been excluded from the current round due to fisheries interests (Nephrops). Defra is working with the fishing industry and other interested parties to identify subtidal mud sites suitable for consideration in the 3rd tranche of MCZs.

To see the full consultation and associated documents follow this link


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