George Eustice, Minister for Farming, Food and Marine Environment designated 27 Marine Conservation Zones on Thursday 21st November 2013.
The news comes after a four-year process following the introduction of the Marine and Coastal Access Act (2009) to ensure greater protection for our marine wildlife and natural treasures. Marine Conservation Zones aim to conserve the diversity of nationally rare, threatened and representative habitats and species.
The zones were designated as the culmination of a process closely involving stakeholders. In September 2011, four stakeholder-led regional projects proposed 127 sites for Marine Conservation Zones. These were reviewed by the independent Marine Protected Areas Science Advisory Panel, which advised Defra that there were gaps in the evidence used to support the recommendations.
Of the 27 zones designated today, the Blackwater, Crouch, Roach and Colne Estuaries are of particular relevance for CBESS. Our three Essex sampling sites; Fingringhoe Wick, Abbotts Hall and Tillingham Marshes are all located in the designated area.
See where the zones are on JNCC’s interactive map.