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."