Belfast Telegraph

'No fishing zones' call as Bill hits Assembly

By Linda Stewart

‘No take’ zones are crucial if Northern Ireland’s rich marine wildlife is to be protected, a wildlife expert said yesterday as the Marine Bill hit the Assembly.

While the Bill contains measures to establish Marine Conservation Zones to protect species and habitats, these are not the same as ‘no take’ zones where fishing is banned. Instead, they will have flexible boundaries and the level of protection will depend on the species.

Richard Devlin of Northern Ireland Marine Task Force said more detail is needed on the Marine Conservation Zones as it is vital for the health of our seas that ‘no take’ zones be established.

Confirming that he aimed to have the Bill become law by 2013, Environment Minister Alex Attwood said: “Crucially, I intend, through the designation of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) to provide for the better protection of our native species and habitats, many of which are unique to these islands.”

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