MCS shows Minister Lundy at its best

Richard Harrington By: Richard Harrington
Date posted: 5 March 2010

MCS has taken Fisheries Minister, Huw Irranca-Davies on a day trip to Lundy Island to see England’s only Marine Conservation Zone first hand.

MCS has taken Fisheries Minister, Huw Irranca-Davies on a day trip to Lundy Island to see England’s only Marine Conservation Zone first hand. The trip, organised by MCS and Natural England, was to show the Minister this newly designated Marine Conservation Zone, created under the Marine and Coastal Access Act, which became law last year. Part of the Lundy MCZ is also a No Take Zone, the only site in English waters where fishing isn’t allowed. Since that protection, lobster numbers have increased ten fold within the zone. Melissa Moore, Senior Policy Officer at MCS said the trip to Lundy, which lies just off the North Devon coast, was an opportunity to discuss issues with the Minister that she hopes he can still address prior to the General Election. “We were accompanied on the trip to the island by porpoises in the water and in the boat by James Marsden, Marine Director from Natural England; John Butterworth representing local fishermen and Jo Smith from Finding Sanctuary. Lundy Island was the only Marine Nature Reserve established in English waters under the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside Act. Now it’s an MCZ, we’re hoping many more zones will be designated under the Act. These will be identified with the help of local stakeholders by Finding Sanctuary , the SW regions MCZ partnership. Unfortunately, for conservation, few will be No Take Zones like Lundy.” Melissa said the early March weather meant the group were able to see Lundy at it’s best . “The sea was flat calm and weather dry and sunny. Nicola Saunders, the Lundy warden took us over Devils Cauldron, where the minster was treated to the sight of seals in their natural habitat. She also told us about the biology of the site including the ongoing surveys of the sunset cup corals, seals and lobsters. ” “We were able to do a tour of the No Take Zone and the rest of the island including some seal watching, before a slightly choppier trip back to Ilfracombe”, said Melissa. You can have your say about special places where the sea needs protecting at yourseasyourvoice.com

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