Wildlife campaigners calling for more Marine Conservation Zones are delivering a petition with 250,000 signatures to Environment Ministers calling on the Government to do more to protect marine environments.
DEFRA are currently consulting on proposals for 31 new Marine Conservation Zones including the Blackwater, Crouch, Roach and Colne estuaries along the Essex coastline and the Stour and Orwell estuaries further north. The designation is intended to restrict some leisure activities and protect the marine environment, and preserve rare species like the blue mussel and honeycomb worm.
But wildlife campaigners say 127 areas that were recommended as MCZ's should all get the status. Sites in our region that are on the longer list include Cromer Shoal Chalk beds and Alde Ore Estuary.
And some campaigners believe a Marine Conservation Zone designation can be too restrictive. Last year Blakeney Marshes was earmarked as a possible conservation zone but after a concerted campaign by locals and Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb that area has been left off the list.
People living in Blakeney were concerned a Marine Conservation Zone would mean the end of old traditions like samphire picking and bait digging
The Government's consultation on the 31 new Marine Conservation Zones is due to end on March 31st .