1800Defra has announced 23 new marine conservation zones around England.  The 23 new zones stretch from Northumberland to Land’s End to Cumbria and include Europe’s longest chalk reef off Cromer in Norfolk.  Together with the 27 MCZs created in 2013, the total is still below the 127 proposed by an earlier consultation.

“As an island nation, the UK is surrounded by some of the richest and most diverse sea life in the world – from the bright pink sea-fan coral colonies off the south-west coast, to the great chalk reef stretches in the east.  It’s vital we protect our marine environment to ensure our seas remain healthy, our fishing industry remains prosperous and future generations can enjoy our beautiful beaches, coastline and waters.”

Not everyone is satisfied.  Professor Callum Roberts, at the University of York and one of the UK’s leading marine conservation experts, said:

“We need more because the network we have is far from complete. Despite the [50] MCZs, the UK’s rich marine life has very little protection.  That may sound paradoxical, but six years after the Marine Act was passed, MCZs are still paper parks.  They have no management at all, so life within them remains unprotected.  They will be worse than useless, giving the illusion of protection where none is present.”

Here are the 23:

North Sea

1. Coquet to St Mary’s

2. Farnes East 

3. Fulmar

4. Runswick Bay

5. Holderness Inshore

6. Cromer Shoal Chalk Beds

South East

7. The Swale Estuary

8. Dover to Deal

9. Dover to Folkestone

10. Offshore Brighton

11. Offshore Overfalls

12. Utopia

13. The Needles

South West

14. Western Channel

15. Mounts Bay

16. Lands End

17. North-west of Jones Bank

18. Greater Haig Fras

19. Newquay and the Gannel

20. Hartland Point to Tintagel

21. Bideford to Foreland Point

Irish Sea

22. West of Walney

23. Allonby Bay