MPs have cast doubt on the Government’s commitment to protect sea life in Marine Conservation Zones (MCZ) after less than a quarter of the recommended sites were designated and inadequate enforcement provisions put in place.

  • Report: Marine Protected Areas
  • Report: Marine Protected Areas (PDF)
  • Inquiry: Marine Protected Areas
  • Environmental Audit Committee


Committee Chair   Chair of the Committee, Joan Walley MP, said:  “Marine Conservation Zones can protect our seas from over-fishing and give species and habitats space to recover, ultimately benefiting people whose livelihoods depend on healthy seas. But the Government has been too slow in creating these Zones, and it has failed to get coastal communities and fishermen on board.”

It is now well over four years since the launch of the programme, yet only 27 of the 127 sites recommended by independent project groups have been designated. The Government must stop trying to water down its pledge to protect our seas and move much more quickly to establish further protection zones and ensure they can be enforced.”

Funding for managing the MCZs    Budget reductions at DEFRA mean the Government is currently unable to demonstrate that the Marine Management Organisation – the public body charged with managing the zones – will have the resources needed to manage and enforce the MCZs. The Environmental Audit Committee says the Government must set out a strategy for the management of the 27 MCZs and management plans for individual Zones to demonstrate that they can be enforced. To read more click here.

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