Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) is shocked and bitterly disappointed that Studland Bay has not been included in the latest MCZ (Marine Conservation Zone) public consultations.
Twenty-three other sites around England are being considered, as well as additional conservation features for the Chesil Beach and Stennis Ledges MCZ and the South Dorset MCZ, which were designated after the last public consultations.
DWT’s Marine Awareness Officer, Julie Hatcher said, “Currently there is still no protection in place for Studland Bay, despite clear ecological evidence in support of the designation, and Natural England identifying it as a site at high risk of damage. During a survey carried out in 2013, 88% of boaters questioned expressed support for protection for Studland Bay.”
Studland Bay is home to a large seagrass meadow, which is a priority conservation habitat and important for both UK seahorse species – the spiny seahorse and the short snouted seahorse. It also provides a nursery area for a range of commercial fish species such as bream, plaice, sole, pollack and bass, and for the endangered undulate ray.
Julie adds: “DWT believes that management measures are available that will allow recreational boaters to carry on visiting the bay and strengthen the local economy. Defra has not taken into account that there are potential economic benefits of designating the site and restoring it to its full health.”
DWT is looking for as much support as possible to get Studland Bay considered in the next set of public consultations. To send an email to Defra asking them to consider this important site for protection, visit http://www.wildlifetrusts.org/saveMCZs. To sign up to become an MCZ friend at www.wildlifetrusts.org/MCZfriends.