Defra is undertaking a vital consultation for the future of UK seas and the creation of MCZ (marine consultation Zones). Originally, 127 potential sites were chosen as MCZs but the Government has now slashed this number to just 31. Sea-Changers have submitted their views of the Government's proposals and you can read our response in full here.

The key points of our response include:


  • Sea-Changers fully support the designation of an ecologically coherent network of Marine Conservation Zones and we urge the Government to designate the 31 sites proposed by DEFRA in 2013 and enforce appropriate management as soon as possible.

  • However, we are disappointed to hear that DEFRA is considering not the full 127 recommended sites but only 31 to be designated in 2013.

  • We are concerned that the North Sea will not contain an ecologically coherent network of protected areas under these designation proposals.

  • We are concerned that in some cases socio-economic factors are being considered as more important than conservation and sustainability aims, contrary to the directions of a wide range of coastal and marine management directives, legislature, and recommendations internationally. 

  • The SNCBs advised that insufficient scientific evidence should not necessarily result in non-designation of a site.  We are concerned this is not evidenced by the number of sites being put forward for designation in 2013.

  • We wish to see a confirmed and binding plan and timetable for future designation tranches, a plan that will sufficiently meet our international conservation commitments.

  • We wish to make known our concern about the method with which management actions of the MCZs will be decided and implemented.  It is made clear within the consultation document that management decisions will be made after designation.  Whilst we understand this, it’s important that these decisions will be made in close consultation with local communities.

To voice your views please submit them before the 31st of March directly to Defra, or visit the Marine Conservation Society's website and use their submission template. Your views are so important. Make them heard.

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