Welsh waters are special, and the nature of Welsh seas is widely recognised as being important, with 37% of the marine environment and 75 % of the coastline protected, in name at least, under European legislation. This may sound impressive, but protection for underwater sites unfortunately falls well short of providing full protection for these special wild places.
As well as being inadequately protected, these sites do not necessarily contain all that is special about Welsh marine wildlife. A Wales Environment Link report indentified that 4% of nationally important species are found only outside of the existing protected sites.
Our Welsh seas are not as healthy as they should be, even those in the existing protected areas, such as the Cardigan Bay Special Area of Conservation (SAC). The marine environment is so important and special in Wales that seven out of every eight of sites that have been identified by Europe as being important, are marine. But recent surveys have shown that the marine environment is continuing to suffer with 60% declining and some of this decline is accelerating.
MCS wildlife protection in action
A new kind of marine protection zone is being considered by Welsh Government presently - Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs). These sites are likely to be highly protected, bringing a vital addition to our existing network by providing safe havens for species and habitats. Please show your support for the new MCZs by voting on our Your Seas Your Voice website. Data collected from this campaign will be submitted to the Welsh Government as part of their consultation, to provide them with detailed information when they decide on where the new sites will be set up.