CCW welcomes the Welsh Government’s consultation on options for
highly protected Marine Conservation Zones
THE Countryside Council for Wales today
(Thursday 19 April 2012) welcomes Welsh Government Environment
Minister, John Griffiths’s announcement that the first consultation
exercise for selecting highly protected Marine Conservation Zones
(MCZs) is underway.
Ten sites are up for consideration – though no more than three
to four will be designated by the Welsh Government by 2014.
CCW and other members of the project’s Technical Advisory Group
advised the Welsh Government on the selection of potential sites –
the intention is to establish sites which maximise ecological and
other benefits whilst minimising the impact on human activity. The
potential sites have been identified because they support a wide
variety of habitats and associated wildlife. The MCZs will provide
a boost to marine biodiversity and productivity and will support
the wider environment.
Dr David Parker, CCW Chief Scientist said: “Evidence suggests
that highly protected sites have a key role to play in terms of
supporting the recovery of ecosystems and their ability to adapt to
pressure and change. They will also improve our understanding of
the marine environment.
“It’s vital that our seas are healthy and managed in a
sustainable way so that we can continue to enjoy and benefit from
their goods and services for many generations to come. Highly
protected MCZs have a role to play in achieving this.”
The zones will be given a high level of protection from
activities that could change, damage or disturb what is naturally
found there. In practical terms, this means that nothing will be
extracted from or deposited into highly protected MCZs.
The 10 potential sites, including their indicative areas in
- Puffin Island/Ynys Seiriol - chosen because of its variety of
habitats on the shores and underwater. For example, the underwater
kelp forests are rich in communities of animals such as sponges and
- North East Menai Strait/Gogledd Ddwyrain Y Fenai - chosen for
its variety of habitats on the shores and underwater. The
underwater habitats are influenced by strong tidal flows
- North Lleyn Peninsula/ Gogledd Pen Llŷn - chosen for its
variety of habitats on the shores and underwater. Both rock and
sediment habitats are represented, including underwater habitats
such as a reef formed by large horse mussels which, in turn,
provides an important habitat for many other species
- Bardsey Island/Ynys Enlli - chosen for its variety of habitats
on the shores and underwater. The shores around Bardsey are full of
contrasts - steep cliffs to the north and shallow sloping platforms
to the south. Underwater, there are vibrant wildlife communities of
kelp, soft corals, sea firs, anemones and sponges. (10.5km²).
- St Tudwal's Island East and Llanbedrog / Ynys Ddwyreiniol
Tudwal a Llanbedrog - chosen for its variety of habitats on the
shores and underwater. Many areas, both underwater and on the
shore, consist of mixed gravelly sediments which harbour a wealth
of different species (28.2km²).
- Mouth of the Dwyfor/ Aber Afon Dwyfor - chosen for its variety
of habitats on the shores and underwater. This site is fairly
sheltered from wave action. On the shore, habitats such as
honeycomb worm reefs, formed by worms that cement sand together to
form large honeycomb-like structures, contrast with mixed and sandy
sediments underwater (6.0km²).
- New Quay offshore/ Ceinewydd (môr) - chosen for its range of
sediment habitats with some cobbly patches. This is the only site
proposed which is entirely subtidal (does not include the coast)
- South West of Strumble Head/ I’r De Orllewin o Ben Caer -
chosen for its numerous different habitats in an area where few
other sites were chosen. The site is mainly rocky and quite exposed
to wave action, although small bays and inlets provide some
shelter. Underwater, rocky reefs support a rich mix of sponge
- Skomer/Sgomer – chosen for its variety of habitats on the
shores and underwater, the site includes much of Skomer Marine
Nature Reserve. Its rocky shores and shallow waters are exposed to
wave action, but there are more sheltered areas as well, such as
the seagrass bed at North Haven. Many species have been recorded in
these waters, including 240 species of seaweed, 100 species of
sponge and 72 species of sea slugs (10.5km²).
- Dale /Dale - chosen mainly for the intertidal mixed sediment
and subtidal muddy habitats, along with a variety of other
habitats. The muddy gravels on the shore support a wide range of
species of worms and cockles (2.9 km²).
The site boundaries given are only indicative – and may change
in the light of the consultation.
Anyone with an interest is encouraged to participate in the
Welsh Government’s consultation process and contribute to the final
site selection - www.wales.gov.uk/marine
Dr Parker added: “The health of our seas is of huge importance
to Wales - there are already areas designated to protected
important marine species and habitats. Adding this small number of
highly protected sites will mean that Wales is well on the way to
fulfilling its commitment to establish a range of Marine Protected
Areas that are part of the wider network.”
For more information contact CCW Press Office; Helen Evans on
01248 387377 / 07717225589 or Brân Devey on 02920 772 403 /
NOTES TO EDITORS
The Countryside Council for Wales is a Welsh Government
Sponsored Body, working for a better Wales where everyone values
and cares for our natural environment www.ccw.gov.uk.