Aim is to create reserves using input from boaters

A pioneering project is being launched in the South West during spring 2007 to breathe new life into the coasts and seas around Cornwall, Devon and Dorset.

Finding Sanctuary will aim to create the very first network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the UK, by balancing the needs of the people who depend on the sea for their livelihoods or leisure activities, with the protection and conservation of marine habitats and sea life.

Tom Hooper, Project Manager for Finding Sanctuary, explained: “The success of Finding Sanctuary rests on the input, understanding and commitment of everyone who has an interest in the coasts and seas in the South West – especially fishermen, anglers, divers and conservationists but also residents and tourists who enjoy the lifestyle the South West coastline brings.

“The pivotal role of Finding Sanctuary is to ensure that sites are well planned to provide better protection for a diverse number of species, and are suited, and preferably advantageous, to the needs of those that use the seas.”

The project has set out a five-year plan during which it will work with interest groups to identify the sites that can bring the greatest possible benefits for conservation, resources and livelihoods and have the broadest possible support from the people who live or work in the region.

For more information and to become involved in the project log onto www.finding-sanctuary.org or write to: Finding Sanctuary, Darts Farm Village, Topsham, Exeter, Devon, EX3 0QH