A workshop is taking place in Poole today to discuss conservation and recreation issues in Studland Bay

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) is hosting a workshop in Poole today to discuss, among other things, whether boaters should be banned from anchoring in Studland Bay.

Representatives from a range of interested parties were expected to attend the workshop, including the Seahorse Trust, Royal Yachting Association, National Trust, Natural England, Finding Sanctuary, Studland Bay Residents’ Beach Association, Crown Estate and Dorset Wildlife Trust.

The workshop has alarmed local boating groups, which fear that the MMO could use a byelaw to ban anchoring in Studland Bay altogether.

However, the Marine Conservation Society, which is currently conducting an online poll into whether Studland should become a marine protected area, said it is not calling for an outright ban on anchoring.

A statement from the MCS said:”We can all use this area of seabed in a responsible way, ensuring protection for vulnerable species (seahorses) and habitat (seagrass), whilst rightfully enjoying the understandable pleasures of motorboating in such a beautiful location.

“In light of this, we simply need to consider the needs of the protected habitats and species of this area, whilst maintaining use of pleasure boats. As such, we respectively suggest that vessel owners and the MMO consider moving the anchoring zone of the Studland area some 300m northwards, outside of the zone dominated by the local seagrass beds.”

A spokesperson for the MMO said that it hopes the workshop will help it to fully understand all the issues in the bay.