Marine conservation debate continues


Geraint Jones

TALKS have been held on controversial marine conservation zones (MCZs).

Welsh Fishermen’s Asociation chairman Jim Evans Environment Minister John Griffiths, who also listened to a presentation from Professor Michel Kaiser of Bangor University on the sustainable use of fisheries in Wales.

Mr Griffiths said: “I welcome the work of the Welsh Fishermen’s Association in addressing marine conservation.

"Their proposals outline a framework for taking forward marine spatial management on an ecosystem basis.

Welsh Government proposals for 10 MCZs across Wales, including sites in the Menai Strait and Llyn Peninsula, caused concern among fishermen and the tourist trade last year.

The zones would mean a ban on fishing, dredging and anchoring in all or some of the areas.

A consultation on MCZs drew 7,000 responses, a Welsh Government task and finish team is due to reports its findings on MCZs in April.

The Welsh Fishermen’s Association said it was unaware of any evidence to suggest that the current Welsh Marine Protected Areas were in an unfavourable condition.

Mr Evans added: “I would like to thank the Minister and his officials for today's opportunity to clearly outline the WFA-CPC's considered proposals and the wider benefits and opportunities that can be achieved for all marine users through an eco-system based approach to the management of the marine environment.”

“The Association’s proposals, alongside the feedback we received to last year’s consultation, will be carefully considered in informing the next steps to establishing MCZs in Wales.”

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