added byFish Fight Team
What are MCZs?
MCZ stands for Marine Conservation Zone – a type of marine protected area intended to protect seabed species and marine habitats from activities that would damage them. In many cases they should exclude the most destructive fishing methods like scallop dredging or beam trawling, but allow lower-impact methods of fishing to continue.
The government asked scientists, fishermen, and everyone else who uses our seas to work together to select sites for MCZs. They were designed to protect important habitats, but also to minimise the impact on fishing and other activities.
These groups came up with 127 sites, and the government’s experts said that these were all needed in order to create a network of sites good enough to secure the health of our seas. The whole process has taken over 3 years so far, cost millions of pounds, and involved thousands of people.
In December 2012, the government announced it only plans to protect 31 of the 127 MCZs in 2013. They haven’t given a timetable for when they will look at the rest of them. It looks like this once-in-a-lifetime chance to really Save our Seas could be lost. But they've opened a consultation, so we all have a chance to tell the government what we think.