Marine Protected Areas in Wales
With a cabinet reshuffle, Carl Sargeant is now Minister for Natural Resources, which covers marine and fisheries. Welsh Government have recently announced that they have signed off Part V of the Marine and Coastal Access Act, which will allow Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) to be set up in Wales. They are currently looking at: the whole MPA network in Wales to identify any gaps in coverage; gathering all relevant data; developing marine planning; achieving sustainable fisheries and working towards an ecosystem based approach.
We are working with Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales to make sure that we get a well-managed ecologically coherent network.
Do the new 37 sites affect Wales?
Marine Conservation Zones in Welsh offshore seas
Welsh waters are split into inshore (0-12nm) and offshore (<12nm). Wales already has 35% of its inshore waters within Marine Protected Areas but within the proposed new MCZs are 3 Welsh offshore sites – North St Georges Channel, Mid St Georges Channel and East Celtic deep. As these sites are offshore, they are covered by Westminster parliament and Welsh MPs not Welsh Government and Assembly Members, hence fall under this consultation.
These sites will contribute to the overall health and productivity of Welsh seas both inshore and offshore by allowing recovery of damaged habitat and improve connection between inshore and offshore sites, allowing for example greater larval dispersal.
So we are asking you to write to your MP about these offshore sites. Further to this, we will be asking for your support when Welsh Government consults on its inshore MCZs.
For more info on each of the 37 sites see the map, which shows the proposed sites in orange. You can read about each of the sites by click on the links below the map