Chairman of North Devon Fishermen’s Association says Marine Conservation Zones coupled with well managed fish stocks could be good news for region.

The chairman of North Devon Fishermen’s Association has reacted to the creation of two new Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) in North Devon.

The two zones are from Bideford to Foreland Point, and from Hartland to Tintagel, and are designed to help protect marine life recover.

NDFA chairman John Balls said: “As the fishing community of North Devon we are proud of our history in being proactive in protecting the marine environment.

“We feel a balance of these MCZs and well managed fish stocks will mean we have a good product to sell for the foreseeable future.”

The North Devon Biosphere has welcomed the news from the Department for Food and Rural Affairs.

Andrew Bell, of the North Devon Biosphere, said: “The Biosphere’s Marine Working Group, which includes fishermen, recreational users, divers, scientists and conservationists, worked hard to develop these new MCZs.

“They are designed to protect rare and important species like the honeycomb worm, pink sea fan and spiny lobster but also respond to fisherman’s concerns about retaining important fishing grounds.”

The Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA) will be responsible for managing activities within each IFCA.

Mr Bell added: “We were hopeful that the designation would include the small changes we recommended to account for Abbotsham area and the specialness there as well as the trade-off in sheltered areas for trawling in the bay.

“However, we will work hard to secure these changes in the next round of consultation.”