Wales to use new powers to create MPAs

The Welsh Assembly Government has outlined plans to set up marine conservation zones off the country's coastline.

The recently passed Marine and Coastal Access Bill gives the assembly the power to set up the zones to protect nationally important habitats and species.

They will act like a kind of underwater nature reserve, with restrictions on fishing and other potentially harmful activities.

Establishing marine conservation zones (MCZs) it partly an administrative issue, as in many cases they will simply replace existing marine nature reserves, Special Areas of Conservation or other designated protected sites.

But the new legislation, which feeds down from Europe, gives governments powers to control the level of restrictions placed on potentially damaging activities and weigh them against social and commercial agendas.

It also allows them to set a blanket ban on types of activities within the site, rather than specifying the individual species or habitat types which must be protected.

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