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Skomer MCZ needs better protection

Marine Conservation Zones in Wales: gloom or hope?  It’s gloom.

 

Despite Welsh Government’s initial commitment to using the Marine Conservation Zone legislation in the 2009 Marine and Coastal Access Act to designate some much needed highly protected MCZs, and despite 81% of responses to the initial sites consultation supporting HPMCZ designation, that policy has been dumped.  The then Minister for Natural Resources and Food (we didn’t have an environment minister in Wales for several years) kicked all the proposals and work done so far into the long grass in July 2013.  All bets are off – it’s back to the drawing board for possible new MCZs in Wales.  And any hope for Skomer Marine Nature Reserve gaining any improved protection in the foreseeable future are out of the window.

Read the ministerial statement here.

Read an invited article on the history of marine nature conservation in Wales by former Skomer MNR manager Blaise Bullimore in the journal Natur Cymru (Nature in Wales) here and his take on the minister’s announcement here.

Skomer MNR was reclassified as an MCZ on 12 December 2014.  The change is at best cosmetic, but it introduces risks of decreased protection.  So it is important to keep the pressure on.  We need to take every opportunity to tell the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs (we don’t seem to have ministers any more, but we have got the environment back in the not-minister’s job title!) that there is a need for better protection for marine biodiversity and wildlife, that we do need highly protected MCZs in Wales and that she needs to start with Skomer MCZ.

Please continue to take  action in support of Skomer MNR MCZ

Highly Protected Marine Conservation Zones in Wales

Despite Skomer Marine Nature Reserve eventually having been re-designated as a Marine Conservation Zone five years after the 2009 Marine & Coastal Access Act became law, the level of protection it receives was not changed.  It still needs to become a highly protected MCZ.

A petition of 7500 signatures arguing for highly protected designation was presented to Jane Davidson, then Welsh Minister for the Environment, on 24 November 2009 .   Amongst those signatories were:

Mark Carwardine – award-winning environmental writer,  columnist, photographer and broadcaster, and active supporter of  conservation of the marine environment and endangered species.

Professor Callum Roberts, Professor of Marine Conservation at York University and author of “The Unnatural History of the Sea”.

Iolo Williams, BBC Wales (Iolo’s Special Reserves, the Natural History of Wales, Iolo’s Welsh Safari, Not in my Nature, Spring, Autumn & Winterwatch, Iolo’s Great Welsh Parks) pictured signing the Skomer HMPR campaign petition.

Liz Bonnin, wild animal biologist and BBC TV presenter (Bang Goes the Theory, Country Tracks, Animal Einsteins, Super-smart Animals, Spring & Autumnwatch, Countrywise, Stargazing Live, Big Blue Live).

At the same time and CCW made the same proposal but didn’t succeed despite the strong case and support.

Very many thanks to everyone who has expressed their support so far but please keep up it up.  Please write in support of improving Skomer MNR’s protection toLesley Griffiths, Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs.  Marine environmental protection just doesn’t seem to be any sort of priority for the Welsh Government.  Only public pressure will change that.

Write by e-mail to Lesley Griffiths at: Correspondence.Lesley.Griffiths@gov.wales

or by post to:

Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs
Welsh Government
5th Floor
Ty Hywel
Pierhead Street
Cardiff Bay   CF99-1NA

Most importantly, please tell all your friends and colleagues who care about protecting the marine environment that their support is needed too.  Please, please tweet, Facebook, blog or e-mail a link to this page to to spread the word.

Thank you.

 

 

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