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Marine Conservation Zones

What are Marine Conservation Zones?

Marine Conservation Zones are a new way of extending environmental protection in our seas. The recommendations for Marine Conservation Zones around England have now been made.

The government aims to begin designating the final zones in 2012, following a public consultation. Once designated they will protect nationally important marine wildlife, habitats, geology and geomorphology.

Sites will be selected to protect the range of marine wildlife, not just the rare and threatened. Around England, Marine Conservation Zones will be part of a network of protected areas at sea. This network will also include:

  • Sites of Special Scientific Interest
  • Special Areas of Conservation
  • Special Protection Areas
  • Ramsar sites

Who recommended Marine Conservation Zones?

A Regional Stakeholder Group made up of around 40 people with an interest in the Irish Sea was at the heart of the process and recommended where the conservation zones should be.

We also gathered information from almost 300 people about how they use the Irish Sea. These included a wide variety interests, such as commercial fishing, marine industries and recreational activities.

You can find out about the final recommendations for Marine Conservation Zones in the Irish Sea project here. You can download either a summary version of the final recommendations, which includes information on likely management of activities, or the full report.