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Make your voices heard on protection zones, fishermen urged
Published:  18 December, 2012

A RALLYING call has gone out to fishermen in the marine Protection Area Coalition (MPAC) to make their voices heard in response to Defra’s formal public consultation on  protection zones. The consultation proposals  for English waters runs until March 31st.

Dale Rodmell, spokesman for the coalition said: “It is essential that fishermen make known their issues on a site by site basis.  While much was done during the course of the regional MCZ projects by various parts of the industry to limit ill-considered site selections, the sheer scale and rushed pace of the planning process and its top-down network design guidance meant that it was not possible to resist all ill-considered proposals.”
 
He added: “The public consultation is really the last chance saloon before the first set of designations goes forward.  Whilst MPAC has engaged government successfully at the strategic level over the application of marine evidence, fisheries displacement and legitimate representation, the consultation brings the focus back to the local level where local knowledge is key.  Now that there are no regional projects, MPAC is here to provide the platform through which to take those local arguments forward.”

“There is already a high level public campaign by green groups as the consultation moves forward, and this is expected to be bolstered by a focus on marine protection areas  in the next instalment of the Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall Fish Fight series.  Against that, we must come forward with credible, factual and site specific arguments on the potential hardship to fishing communities and unintended consequences of poorly selected proposals.”

Further details of the consultation are available at:
http://www.defra.gov.uk/consult/2012/12/13/marine-conservation-zones-1212/
Locations of recommended MCZs including those proposed for designation in 2013:
http://www.defra.gov.uk/consult/files/mcz-i2-map-20121213.pdf
Formal consultation response form:
http://www.defra.gov.uk/consult/files/mcz-annex-h-121213.doc




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