By a County Press reporter
Thursday, January 24, 2013
A PETITION signed by more than 250,000 people and backed by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, calling for greater protection of marine habitats, was presented to parliament this week.
The nationwide petition was started after conservation groups reacted angrily to the news that only 31 out of 127 recommended sites will be considered for the creation of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) this year.
None of the 31 zones will protect Isle of Wight habitats.
The zones are not universally popular however, and on the Island concerns have been raised by commercial fisherman Geoff Blake that MCZs could destroy the fishing industry, without protecting habitats from threats such as dredging.
More than 5,000 people from the Hampshire and Isle of Wight area signed the petition, which was presented to natural environment minister Richard Benyon on Tuesday.
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