Fears harbour trade could be damaged by conservation zone

By David Newble

Friday, March 14, 2014


Fears harbour trade could be damaged by conservation zone

The area outside Yarmouth Harbour, which could become a marine conservation zone. Picture by Robin Crossley.

YARMOUTH Harbour commissioners are ex-tremely concerned about plans to introduce a marine conservation zone (MCZ) outside the town’s harbour.

In a letter to the County Press, the town’s harbourmaster Chris Lisher said commissioners feared the proposals, which would restrict fishing and other activities, had the potential to detrimentally affect the harbour’s business.

As reported last week, six marine sites off the Island, including one on the north west coast of the Island, could be given special protection.

The list of 37 sites is part of a second tranche of potential designations for 2015. They include an area between Yarmouth and Gurnard as well as areas off The Needles, Bembridge and between Norris, near East Cowes, and Ryde.

The Hampshire and IW Wildlife Trust said designation of the sites would ensure protection for important and nationally rare species, such as native oysters, seahorses, stalked jellyfish and mantis shrimps, and for habitats, such as seagrass beds and marine reefs.

But Mr Lisher said: "Yarmouth Harbour Comm-issioners are extremely concerned about the potential introduction of a MCZ right across the front of the harbour, which has the potential to detrimentally affect our business and may impact on the cross-Solent car ferry operation of Wightlink and access of commercial fishing vessels to the harbour and western Yar estuary. Yarmouth Harbour is intrinsically linked to Yarmouth town and so a negative impact on the harbour’s business will inevitably damage the business in the town and potentially much of the West Wight.

"The area is already heavily environmentally designated.

"We are particularly concerned about the management regime for the proposed MCZ. Nothing so far has been published so we fear the worst."

Reporter: davidn@iwcpmail.co.uk


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by Steve C

16th March 2014, at 01:40:21

Oh for goodness sake Harbour Commissioners, stop stressing! Designating a MCZ isn't going to affect Wightlink or fishing fleet access! These designations are designed to protect the sorts of things that make our island special from undue harm, so as long as we avoid doing undue harm, it'll be fine! Surely we don't actually want to cause harm if it can be avoided?!

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by Leigh Perry

14th March 2014, at 13:50:09

Mr Russell, what a strange view that people only value something when they can see it? You do realise that the sea isn't just water? and a healthy, functioning environment is much more then a water quality reading? Over 50% of the UK's plants and animals depending on the sea for their survival & we should do our best to protect important areas, MCZs are a step in the right direction & of course they aren't going to stop the ferries running (only fog, wind or 'operational reasons' do that).

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by Matthew Hampshire

14th March 2014, at 11:35:26

MCZs are crucial to preserving the diversity of wildlife in our seas. So let's not get hung up about who can see them. Extending that argument would mean ignoring all kinds of unjustcies around the world - a very insular point of view.

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by Colin Russell

14th March 2014, at 11:05:37

Mr Perry it seems you have not been reading the previously posts about the MCZ .
How many tourist are going to see the zones let alone heard of them, do you not know that the water quality is tested on a regular basis around the Island, and the sea is in a healthy state.

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by Colin Russell

14th March 2014, at 10:49:00

Thse MCZ want looking at again,
This is and Island and the sea is part of island life in many ways. the pen pushers want to come over and have a look, and not just look at at a map pinned on the wall.

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by Leigh Perry

14th March 2014, at 10:38:20

"Nothing so far has been published so we fear the worst." So Yarmouth Harbour Commissioners should wait until they know the facts before scaremongering. MCZs will be great for the Isle of Wight environment & Tourism etc. As an Island we rely on a healthy sea & they have been neglected for too long.

Any views or opinions presented in the comments above are solely those of the author and do not represent those of the Isle of Wight County Press.

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