Marine Protected Areas around Northern Ireland
A consultation for marine conservation zones in Northern Ireland is open right now. This is an opportunity for you to add your voice in support of four new sites. Each of them is worth protecting, and we would like you to add your support to the campaign.
We are co-ordinating responses through our partners at the Northern Ireland Marine Task Force. You can voice your support for the sites by clicking on the link below.
You will find a standard response provided for you, and we would urge you to add text along the following lines to the "other comments" box: "I feel that the extent of coverage of the sites is too little, and ambitions need to be raised if Northern Ireland's rich seas are to be protected for future generations. However, I fully support the designation of the four sites in the consultation".
The four sites are:
Outer Belfast Lough for protecting the ancient Ocean Quahog population;
Waterfoot seagrass beds, first surveyed and identified for seagrass in the waters of this sheltered bay by Seasearch.
Carlingford Lough, at the east boundary between North and South. It is unique (at 12km2) in that it hosts sea pens within very shallow waters (less than 5 metres deep).
Rathlin Island. Deep waters to the north of Rathlin Island host sand and gravel habitats that are extremely rare in UK waters, unlikely to have ever been trawled over as they are so deep. They lie on average at 200m only a stones throw from the north-facing cliffs of Rathlin. The waters are current rich, and have only been sparsely surveyed using deep-water cameras.
The consultation closes on the 11th March 2016.
For more information about the sites, read the campaign page using the above link.
This consultation is open to any UK resident.