SEVEN new areas across Cornwall have been confirmed as Marine Conservation Zones, following a consultation last year to protect and preserve habitats and wildlife.
The announcement, in which 23 locations around the UK were made Marine Conservation Zones by the Government, will ensure activities that could damage the environment are restricted in those areas.
Campaigners hope that the new restrictions will ensure seabed habitats are protected and increase populations of endangered species, such as the Porbeagle shark.
Those confirmed across Cornwall are Land’s End, Mount’s Bay, Hartland Point to Tintagel and Newquay and the Gannel.
The Marine Conservation Society said: “A very big thank you to all of you who took part in the MCZ consultation for England in 2015. 4,789 of you responded in favour of protecting the 23 places under consultation.
“We are pleased to report that this action has helped bring about the designation of every single one of the sites as new marine conservation zones! This brings the total number of MCZs to 50.
“They now have a real chance of being better protected in future.
“This is not the end of the story - a third tranche will be considered in future, and management measures for these sites are yet to be devised.”
With 23 new MCZs, there is now a total of 50 around the UK.
The seven areas to be included as Marine Conservation Zones around Cornwall include:
The zone here will cover an 11km square area, covering the eastern side of the bay to include St Michael’s Mount and the Marazion area. Home to high energy rock and sand, the area also celebrates several important species, such as seagrass, stalked jellyfish and crayfish - as well as dolphins, porpoises and basking sharks.
St Michael’s Mount
This zone covers a much larger area than other, reaching 1614km square to the south-east of the Lizard Peninsula. The area has a mosaic of habitats which make up the seafloor, including coarse sediment, mixed sediment and moderate energy rock, supporting animals that live here such as polychaete worms, bivalve molluscs and echinoderms.
Newquay and the Gannel
While just a 9km square area, this boundary protects the Gannel estuary, stretching along its seaward boundary.
Hartland Point to Tintagel
With steep, rocky cliffes, stretches of sandy beaches and numerous sea caves, this MCZ covers 304km square, running from the shoreline to depths of approximately 50 metres.
Land’s End (Runnel Stone)
While this 19km square area is listed specificallt for its high energy intertidal rock, it also has a diversity of species, such as pink sea fan, dead man’s fingers and cup corals, which colonise the rocky reef, and is one of the UK’s best spots for the critically endangers Balearic sherwaters, which often visit and feed in this area.
Offshore - North-West of Jones Bank
Further off the coast of Cornwall, 165km west of Land’s End, one large conservation zone will cover 398km square over the continental shelf into the Atlantic, aiming to protect muddy seabed areas, which support a range of borrowing animals such as worms and molluscs.
Offshore - Great Haid Fras
The largest of all the conservation areas to be announced around Cornwall, this will be a 2041km square area, containing some of the best examples of rocky outcrops, giving the seabed a very varied shape and allowing a multitude of marine species to thrive there.
2016 by Hazel Murra