Marine Conservation Society
Skomer Marine Nature Reserve


West Wales Marine Conservation is a one-stop-shop for the Marine Conservation Society Pembrokeshire local group, South and West Wales Seasearch and active supporters of the Skomer Marine Nature Reserve (it’ll always be the MNR even if it is now re-designated as Marine Conservation Zone!)

This web site provides a home for each of these, links to other marine conservation initiatives and information on how to become involved in meaningful marine conservation action in south and west Wales.



Latest news …

Government inquiry into management of marine protected areas in Wales

Last modified on 2017-01-10 15:30:45 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

The National Assembly for Wales’ Climate Change, Environment and Rural Affairs Committee is calling for evidence to support its inquiry into the management of marine protected areas in Wales.  This follows on from the concern expressed by its predecessor, the Environment and Sustainability Committee, about the level of priority given to the marine environment by the Welsh Government.  After its inquiry into marine policy in Wales, the Committee recommended that management of Marine Protected Areas should be highlighted as a priority area for improvement.

We need everyone that cares about the condition and protection of Welsh seas and their marine wildlife to respond to this consultation and to stress the flaws in current MPA management.  

Details of the consultation, including the questions being asked and links to a response form and a survey are here.  

Beware of the form and survey.  They are both constrained and leading; the word allowance for response is very limited and the questions and choice of responses available in the survey is inadequate.  As with all such consultations, please do complete the form and survey but, very importantly, also write your own free-form letter stressing your key messages.

But hurry, the consultation closes on 10 February 2017.


European Union abandons plan to “overhaul” flagship Birds and Babitats Directives following a huge public campaign

Last modified on 2016-12-14 18:25:25 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

The European Commission has been forced to abandon an “overhaul” of flagship nature laws after an unprecedented campaign that mobilised over half a million people in protest.

After taking office in 2014, EC president Jean-Claude Juncker began a review of European Birds and Habitats Directives so as to make them more business-friendly. But last week the laws were declared “fit for purpose”

“We have listened to public opinion very carefully,” he told the Guardian. “The main message sent is that these two directives are a milestone when it comes to environmental habitats and species [protections]. We need better and smarter implementation but these problems can be solved with non-legislative action. The directives will not be reopened.”

Read more here.

Good news for the immediate future, but hopefully it will also mean that the standards for post-“Brexit” nature conservation in the UK that will have to be attained to remain credible will remain high, and perhaps even be enhanced.

Welsh Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs makes “inaccurate and misleading claims” about the sustainability of Welsh seafood.

Last modified on 2016-12-14 18:17:31 GMT. 0 comments. Top.

Not-for-profit profit environmental law organisation Client Earth reports:

“At the launch of the Wales Seafood Strategy in Cardiff, the National Procurement Service pledged to serve only ‘verifiably sustainable fish’ across the public sector – a commitment we at ClientEarth fully encourage. However, during Seafood Week (October 2016}, Lesley Griffiths, the Cabinet Secretary, claimed that: ‘With more than 75% of our coastline in Marine Conservation Area [sic] our seafood is, by its very nature, sustainably sourced. It is excellent news that the National Procurement Service has signed the pledge to ensure all fish used in the Public Sector in Wales is sustainably sourced.’”

Client Earth goes on to say “Yet this claim is inaccurate …. Claiming that Welsh seafood is sustainably sourced because 75% of Welsh coastlines are protected is misleading. Marine protection and seafood sustainability can go hand in hand, but one does not necessarily result in the other.”

Read more here.

Client Earth is spot on; but there’s more.

The claim that 75% of the coastline is “protected” is also equally inaccurate and misleading.  

Although about 75% of coastline length is within a designated marine protected area (MPA), the area of Welsh territorial sea within MPAs is roughly 35%.  Selective use of the 75% figure is misleading as it is implies that Wales has more than double the area in an MPA than it does in reality.

To make matters worse, even referring to these areas as MPAs is also misleading. It implies that areas legally designated as MPA are properly protected. Sadly they are not.  A comprehensive assessment of MPA management was undertaken in 2011-12 by the Countryside Council for Wales (now dissolved and functions transferred to Natural Resources Wales) which came to the conclusion that “Overall the evaluation identified that MPAs in Wales are failing to achieve favourable condition/status due to a lack of effective management”.  In other words, they are not adequately “protected”.




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