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Steps to improve marine protection gather pace

13 September 2011

The locations of 127 proposed marine conservation zones (MCZs) around England and Wales were announced on 8 September 2011.

MCZs were created by the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009. They are intended to be areas of the marine environment which contain flora, fauna, geological or geomorphological features that require protection.

It is hoped that they will benefit tourism and fishing by protecting areas of beauty that divers will want to visit, as well as providing “nurseries” for young fish, replenishing fish stocks for recreational and commercial fishing elsewhere.

MCZs will cover 25% of the waters around England and Wales, leaving fishermen concerned at the reduction in the areas where they will be able to fish, but marine industries will need to be prepared as MCZs will affect the way they operate.

The proposed MCZ areas need the final approval of the government with a decision likely to be made next year.

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