Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 28 May 2016

Marine Conservation Zone proposed to protect Irish Sea porpoises

By Linda Stewart

Published 17/03/2015

The porpoises’ are our smallest marine mammal in the Irish Sea
The porpoises’ are our smallest marine mammal in the Irish Sea

Harbour porpoises will be protected under new marine safeguards proposed by the Department of the Environment.

The DoE has proposed a new protected Marine Conservation Zone for our smallest marine mammal in the Irish Sea, as well as new protected areas for key seabird colonies and a seagrass colony that provides nursery grounds for marine wildlife.

Northern Ireland has already designated the UK's first marine protected area for harbour porpoise in 2012 - the Causeway Coast and Skerries Special Area of Conservation (SAC) on the north coast.

There are proposals now to create a MCZ somewhere within an area between Belfast and Carlingford loughs, stretching to the other side of the Irish Sea.

The DoE has also proposed new Special Protection Areas around the coast to protect seabirds of European importance such as Manx shearwaters, red-throated divers and terns.

A new MCZ has also been proposed for Red Bay in Co Antrim, which would protect vulnerable beds of seagrass, a fragile plant which produces flowers and seeds. Seagrass meadows are home to wildlife such as larval fish, crustaceans and marine invertebrates.

If designated, the new area will join an existing proposed network including Rathlin Island and Belfast and Carlingford loughs.

From the web

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph