Devon sea users invited to join new conservation group

FISHERMEN, sea anglers and divers who use and enjoy the sea, are being invited to join a new group, the Devon Marine Conservation Zone Group. Marine Conservation Zones are new marine protected areas being introduced under the forthcoming Marine and C

FISHERMEN, sea anglers and divers who use and enjoy the sea, are being invited to join a new group, the Devon Marine Conservation Zone Group.

Marine Conservation Zones are new marine protected areas being introduced under the forthcoming Marine and Coastal Access Bill. Their purpose is to safeguard the region's undersea habitats and marine wildlife, and to help ensure the long-term sustainability of marine resources in this region.

The Devon MCZ Group is a joint initiative of the Devon Maritime Forum and Finding Sanctuary, a project working with sea users to plan a network of Marine Conservation Zones in the South West.

Together with MCZ Groups from Cornwall, Dorset and Somerset, the Devon MCZ Group will provide advice and feedback to the regional Finding Sanctuary Steering Group, which is made up of 39 representatives of key marine sectors in the South West.


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Tom Hooper Finding Sanctuary's project manager said: "Recommendations on where MCZs should be sited will be taken at the regional level by the Finding Sanctuary Steering Group, but we need to have local suggestions and knowledge, together with ongoing feedback to ensure MCZs are well planned and therefore have stronger support from local communities - that's where the Devon MCZ Group comes in.

"In order to gain a true picture of how the Devon marine environment is used, we need people who have an interest in every aspect of the sea to join us."

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Jim Masters is the Devon Maritime Forum co-ordinator responsible for setting up the Devon MCZ Working Group. He said: "We are actively looking for members for the new Devon MCZ Group - anyone who uses and enjoys the sea off Devon is welcome to apply to sit on the group. We are looking for people who are not afraid to share their opinions and will enjoy entering into lively discussions and debates."

Finding Sanctuary and Devon Maritime Forum urge those who feel they could represent their sector to put themselves forward to sit on the Devon MCZ Group, as it is important that decisions are made fairly, with the early input, understanding and guidance of local communities.

Applications for the Devon MCZ Group should be sent to Jim Masters by July 24 and the Group will aim to hold its first meeting in October.

For more information about the Devon MCZ Group contact Jim Masters on 01392 383231 or jim.masters@devon.gov.uk

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