Finding Sanctuary reveals that it is considering ear-marking many estuaries as Marine Conservation Zones

Finding Sanctuary, the project tasked with allocating Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) in the seas around south-west England said that it is considering turning many estuaries into MCZs, the majority of which are home to ports and harbours.

The admission came in its Third Progress Report, which was submitted to the Science Advisory Panel on 28 February.

The report said: “The ports sector has significant concerns about the possible impacts of 13 MCZ designations on port and harbour activities, which are of economic significance. We are not able to provide them with the clarity on how their activities and operations may be impacted by a MCZ designation.”

Among the estuaries currently under consideration are the Gannel, the Axe, the Erme and the Otter, although the final number could be much higher.

The ports and harbour sector has said that it would only support MCZs in their areas of authority if they meet a long list of criteria, which includes having no impact on the berthing, mooring and anchoring of small and large vessels.

Finding Sanctuary said that its scheduled two-day meeting for 9-10 March will focus on completing the list of estuaries to be included in its final recommendations.

In addition, the report outlines Finding Sanctuary’s other recommendations for MCZs, which include The Manacles, Land’s End and an area west of the Isle of Wight, which encompasses Studland Bay.

To read the summary of the Third Progress Report click here where you can also download the full report.