Managing Marine Conservation Zones Dr Angela Moffat Marine Bill Project Manager Natural England
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www.naturalengland.org.uk Managing Marine Conservation Zones Dr Angela Moffat Marine Bill Project Manager Natural England email@example.com
Outline Marine Conservation Zones – What are they and where do they fit in the overall scheme of things? How will they be selected? What data will be used? How will marine conservation zones be managed? How might the conservation agencies, public authorities and developers best work together?
UK Marine Protected Area Network Government’s Vision for the marine environment ‘Clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse ocean and seas’ Government’s aim ‘to recover and protect the richness of our marine environment and wildlife through the development of a strong, ecologically coherent and well managed network of marine protected areas, that is well understood and supported by all sea users, by 2012’
UK Marine Protected Area Network The UK Marine Protected Area network will consist of: International marine sites –Special Areas of Conservation –Special Protection Areas –Ramsar sites National marine sites –Sites of Special Scientific Interest –(Marine Nature Reserves) –Marine Conservation Zones
Marine Conservation Zones Aims: To designate MCZs that will meet the UK’s MPA network criteria thereby conserving and/or aiding the recovery of ecosystems and biodiversity, whilst minimising economic or social impacts on society. To maximize the wider benefits of the MCZ network to society by investigating synergies with other sectors.
Under the UK Marine and Coastal Access Bill, MCZs can be designated for the purpose of conserving: Marine flora or fauna Marine habitats or types of marine habitat Features of geological or geomorphological interest The above includes: Species that are rare or threatened; and The diversity of flora, fauna or habitats whether or not rare or threatened. Socio-economic considerations The economic and social consequences of designation may also be taken into account
MCZ selection process Integrated inshore /offshore planning; Delivered through four regional projects; Places stakeholders central to the decision making process; Process open and transparent; Bottom up, top guided process.
Physical data Drawing on the wealth of existing information including: Broad-scale habitat distribution maps; Detailed bathymetric charts; Detailed sediment distribution maps.
Ecological data Range of research commissioned to provide best available scientific ecological evidence including: Species and habitats distribution maps; Important nursery, juvenile or spawning grounds; Areas of high biological diversity; Areas of high benthic productivity; Distribution of seabed sediments and rock; Distribution of geological and geomorphological features.
Socio-economic data Existing socio-economic information including: Distribution of activities Further projects to gather additional information including: –Distribution of inshore fishing activity –Distribution of recreational activities
Management of Marine Conservation Zones The Marine & Coastal Access Bill places the responsibility for the management of MCZs with public authorities. Public authorities must: Exercise their functions in the manner which the authority considers best furthers the conservation objectives stated for the MCZ; Where it is not possible to exercise their functions in a manner which furthers those objectives, exercise them in the manner which the authority considers least hinders the achievement of those objectives.
Public authority marine conservation zone duties and marine licensing Public authorities will need to carry out these duties as part of delivering their licensing functions; Where a public authority thinks that an activity it intends to carry out or which is seeking a licence may significantly hinder the achievement of a MCZs conservation objectives, they are required to consult the statutory conservation agency.
Role of Natural England Natural England will be responsible for providing advice to public authorities on how activities and impacts will affect delivery of the conservation objectives for MCZs. The Bill gives Natural England the power to provide advice and guidance on a number of aspects of marine conservation zone management including: –Factors which might damage or affect protected features; –Impacts that might hinder achievement of the conservation objectives and how these might be mitigated; –How to further the conservation objectives; –Compensatory measures, where damage cannot be avoided.
Making the process work Data and information collated as part of the MCZ selection process will be available to public authorities and developers wherever possible; Natural England is keen to work with developers and public authorities from an early stage in project development to ensure that relevant factors are considered from the outset; Natural England has found this to be a successful way of working with developers and public bodies to secure the management of existing Sites of Special Scientific Interest and European marine sites. Natural England’s aim is not to prevent an activity from occurring but to advise on whether it is possible to carry it out in a way that prevents a significant impact on a MCZ (and its role in the network)
Working together Ongoing dialogue around continuing activities; Early dialogue over new/changed activities; Collaboration over the production of guidance to cover commonly occurring situations; Production of guidance for developers on when to consult us and the information that will be required; Continuing discussion over the effectiveness of management measures (including licensing conditions); Adaptation of management if current management measures are shown to be ineffective.
Summary MCZs will contribute to delivering Government’s aim for a ecologically coherent and well-managed network of MPAs; The process of identifying MCZs will generate a large amount of data and information that will also be of use in managing the sites; Public authorities will be responsible for the management of MCZs and have specific duties relating to MCZs; These duties will need to be delivered alongside carrying out their functions, including licensing; Natural England is keen to work with public authorities and developers from an early stage to secure effective management of MCZs with the minimum of fuss for all parties.