A marine conservation zone at Runswick Bay which would help safeguard local fishing has been put forward for consideration next year.
As we reported last year, the near 70km square area of coastline is a haven for fish such as herring, cod, whiting and plaice.
The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust have welcomed the announcement from the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs that 37 recommended Marine Conservation Zones shall be put forward for public consultation in 2015.
They include Runswick Bay where the Trust says: “the rocky reefs are home to a wealth of wildlife found hidden in cracks and crevices.”
North Sea Living Seas Manager Kirsten Carter, revealed: “We have been engaged with the process to establish Marine Conservation Zones since 2009 and I am delighted these Yorkshire zones shall be included in the second public consultation in 2015.
“The North Sea has a wealth of marine habitats that provide year round homes to all kinds of marine species.”
While there remains a ban on trawling in the area, coble fishing will still be allowed with restrictions on number of fishermen permitted to work the region.
However, restricted areas can actually help fishing by allowing marine life to thrive, grow larger and spill into nearby areas.
Joan Edwards, The Wildlife Trusts’ Head of Living Seas, told us:“We are pleased by the Government’s commitment, demonstrated this week, to a second tranche of Marine Conservation Zones. The 27 areas designated at the end of last year were the first step towards an ecologically coherent network.
“There is huge public support for greater protection of our seas using Marine Protected Areas. They are one of the best tools to protect marine wildlife effectively and restore our seas to their full potential, following decades of neglect and decline.”
In November 2013, The Wildlife Trusts welcomed Defra’s immediate designation of 27 Marine Conservation Zones.
At the time, Marine Environment Minister George Eustice also announced plans to designate two more phases of MCZs over the next three years to complete the Government’s contribution to a network of marine protected areas.
He said: “This is just the beginning, we plan two further phases over the next three years and work to identify these will begin shortly.” The consultation on the second phase is expected to be launched early next year.