There’s less than three weeks left to take part in public consultations on the second tranche of MCZs

Boaters are being to encouraged to participate in the Government’s consultation on the second tranche of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) ahead of the deadline on 24 April.

With less than three weeks to go until the consultation period closes, the RYA wants as many boaters as possible to have their say on whether 23 sites in English waters should become MCZs.

The proposed sites would cover more than 10,000 square kilometres of our seas and aim to protect seabed habitats and species.

A spokesperson for the RYA said: “We support the UK and Devolved Governments’ shared vision for clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas and in most cases, we believe this vision can be achieved without any adverse impact on either the public right or the safety of navigation for recreational boating.”

“As part of the public consultation, we have been considering the Government’s proposals in detail to ensure that they are based on objective and robust evidence and that any potential impacts on recreational boating interests are minimised.

In recent months there has been controversy regarding the MCZs after popular cruising destinations were dropped from the second tranche ahead of this consultation.

Many conservation societies criticised the decision by DEFRA to remove the likes of Studland Bay and sites around the Isle of Wight from the process.

An online petition started last month has now gathered almost 150,000 signatures in support of making Studland Bay a MCZ.

Despite this, DEFRA confirmed with YBW that Studland Bay would not form part of the second tranche, but could still be included in the third, which is set to be implemented in 2016/17.

“We’ve worked closely with our regional network of volunteers to ensure that the interests of our affiliated clubs and members are reflected in the RYA’s response to the consultation. We’ve actively contacted clubs to obtain local knowledge about the level of recreational boating activity that takes place in and around the proposed MCZ sites”, added an RYA spokesperson.

“We also met with Defra officials in March to discuss all the proposed sites for the second tranche of MCZs and to confirm Defra’s plans for tranche three consultations.”

Those wanting to share their views on the 23 proposed MCZs can submit their comments online.