North West Gets 2 New Marine Conservation Zones

Twenty three new Marine Conservation Zones were announced on Sunday 17th January, including two for the North West: Allonby Bay and West of Walney, both in Cumbria.

Allonby Bay has been designated for blue mussel beds, honeycomb worm reef peat and a range of habitats such as peat and clay exposures. It is an inshore site covering around 40km2 and stretches from Dubmill Point in the north to just north of Maryport in the south.

West of Walney has been designated for sea pens and burrowing megafauna and subtidal sand and mud. It is off the coast of Walney island, covering 388km2with most of the site being in inshore waters but with some of the site crossing the 12 nautical mile boundary.

The 23 new sites will make an important contribution to what is now being called the ‘Blue Belt’. This second tranche of designations follows on from the initial 27 which were designated in 2013, bringing the total to 50 but still falls far short of the aspirations developed by the MCZ stakeholder projects around the English coast and put forward to Government.

A further phase of MCZs will be consulted upon in 2017. For more details on the existing MCZs and policy documents follow this link.

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