Natural England: Marine Conservation Zones

11th November 2008 in Domestic Fisheries Policy

The NFFO met the Board of Natural England recently to discuss the Marine Bill and how Natural England would approach its task of selecting and designating a network of marine conservation zones around the UK.

The Federation explained that the enthusiasm for MCZs as a way of regenerating fish stocks was largely misplaced and that other, more direct, measures already in place have turned around the prospects for iconic species like cod.

Nevertheless, to protect biodiversity and to support a functioning ecosystem, MCZs are part of the Marine Bill and the Federation’s priority is to ensure that they are sited in places and ways that minimise the impact on fishing. The NE Board was reminded of the role that fishing plays in the nation’s food security and the many livelihoods that are dependent on fishing.

It is essential that the fishing industry at local, regional and national levels are centrally involved in overseeing the collating the information that will be used in the selection and designation process.