Proposals to create Marine Conservation Zones in Wales have been scrapped. Natural Resources Minister Alun Davies made the announcement in a statement released this morning.
Many people in Wales rely upon and use our seas to support their livelihoods and recreational activities. We want this to continue and develop as part of our blue growth agenda.
Last year we consulted on options for highlyprotected Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs). This generated a substantial responsethat expressed divergent and strongly held views.
A task and finish team, supported by a Stakeholder Focus Group, was established to consider and advise how we should take forward MCZs in Wales. I have met with both of these groups to thank them for their positive and constructive contribution throughout the process.
I will be taking forward the recommendations of the task and finish team and to avoid any continuing uncertainty over the options presented in the 2012 consultation, I am also withdrawing all the proposed sites.
– Alun Davies AM, Natural Resources Minister
The proposals faced criticism from those whose living depends on the sea or tourism who feared it could seriously harm their livelihoods.
A total of 10 sites were proposed from Puffin Island on the eastern tip of Anglesey, along the Lleyn Peninsula, down Cardigan Bay to Dale and Skomer in Pembrokeshire.
Mr Davies says he now wants to understand more about the marine habitats and species already protected in Marine Protected Areas.
Restoring confidence in the quality of our food is now a top priority, according to the Welsh Government minister dealing with the horsemeat scandal. Alun Davies has just told AMs that he's held talks with retailers about reassuring consumers.
Food in the United Kingdom is very, very safe. Food poisoning is at very, very low levels.The amount of contamination and the amount of adulteration is very, very small. So consumers have every reason to have every confidence in the food that they provide for their families.
The Welsh Government says it's taking a close interest in the UK-wide investigations which led to the raid on Farm box food. UK Government officials are taking the lead because food labelling isn't a devolved matter.
But I understand the Deputy Minister for Agriculture Alun Davies took part in a phone conference earlier today with Whitehall officials and those from other devolved administrations. He's also issued a new statement:
Integrity and trust are fundamental to consumer confidence in the food chain. I am greatly concerned by allegations following investigations into a meat-processing business near Aberystwyth by the FSA and Dyfed Powys Police.
Welsh Beef has been awarded the European Union’s Protected Geographical Indication status. This means that the whole of the supply chain meets the highest possible standards. In practice this means that only beef from cattle born and reared in Wales and slaughtered and processed in PGI-approved premises can be labelled as Welsh Beef. It is a short supply chain. Abattoirs and processing facilities have to meet strict criteria before they can become PGI-accredited and all products are fully traceable.
All Welsh Beef branded products are subject to rigorous monitoring to maintain and underpin the highest quality and highest standards.
I believe in the quality of Welsh Beef and I trust the integrity of the PGI supply chain. I want to take this opportunity to make clear that consumers can have confidence in products labelled PGI Welsh Beef.