New Marine Conservation Zones Open

31 May 2019, 08:09 | Updated: 31 May 2019, 09:02


The Lune Estuary and two more bits of the Irish Sea off Cumbria are now Marine Conservation Zones.

Habitats and wildlife there are now better protected - in Morecambe Bay, they're trying to save the Smelt fish.

Off Cumbria, they're trying to save the rocky and seabed homes of the likes of sea slugs and razor clams.

Defra says it's trying to creat a 'blue belt' of protected waters around England.

“This is great news for marine wildlife and we are delighted that government has approved the protection of these special marine areas,” said Dr Jean-Luc Solandt, Marine Conservation Society Principal Specialist, MPAs. “The UK has a growing network of more than 300 marine protected areas, but the government must now invest in proper management of these sites and keep them free of all activities that damage the seabed so that our spectacular marine wildlife can recover from decades of destruction and degradation.”

Sue Ranger, MCS Conservation Engagement and Education Manager, who has studied the connection between the sea and wellbeing says the wildlife and habitats in these MCZ’s connect us to the ocean by playing an unseen role in our lives: “If we look after it properly now, seagrass will go on stabilising the seabed and storing carbon; oyster beds will go on filtering the water and improving its quality and estuaries will continue to provide nursery grounds for fish."