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Marine Conservation Zone proposals withdrawn

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.