Irish Sea “open to an environmental disaster” says Wildlife Trust

The Wildlife Trusts, North West, report in their January 2015 newsletter: “The Government is leaving the Irish Sea open to an environmental disaster by postponing plans to create a network of ‘nature reserves’. This is confirmed in the announcement of the second consultation on Marine Conservation Zones (MCZsMCZ Marine Conservation Zone), which has excluded five out of seven proposals for MCZs in the Irish Sea.

“We are deeply concerned that the Government is failing to protect and recover some of the Irish Sea’s most at-risk wildlife and habitats — leaving the Irish Sea open to an environmental disaster.

Fireworks anemone. Photo: Kirsty Andrews.

Fireworks anemone.
Photo: Kirsty Andrews.

“Two years ago, the Government’s scientific advisors concluded that some of these areas are extremely sensitive and subject to a high level of damaging fishing activity. They warned that the areas are likely to be in poor condition and at high risk of remaining in a damaged or deteriorated condition if no action is taken to protect them.

“Supporting sustainable fisheries, instead of encouraging overfishing and habitat destruction, would increase fish landings, generate more income and create more jobs in the sector. Decision-makers need to think of sustainable fisheries as an opportunity for job creation and increasing the value of fisheries, rather than an environmental principal that comes at a price to the industry. Marine Conservation Zones are a vital part of this process. See the full news story here.

So what’s in and what’s out?

The Government has opened a public consultation on MCZs. Disappointingly, five out of seven MCZs in the Irish Sea have been ‘postponed’ for further consideration. However, the areas that were postponed in the first round of consultation in 2013 have not come back for consideration.

Irish Sea open to2

Areas in the consultation (orange areas):

  • Allonby Bay recommended MCZMCZ Marine Conservation Zone
  • West of Walney recommended MCZ

Areas that have been dropped (red areas):

  • Mud Hole
  • Mid St. George Channel
  • North St. George Channel
  • Slieve na Griddle
  • South Rigg

N.B. Areas in green on the map were designated in 2013.

Source: Wildlife Trusts North West, January 2015 Newsletter, see

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