Huw supports bid for local Marine Conservation Zone
Bexhill and Battle MP, Huw Merriman, is supporting the bid for a new Marine Conservation Zone that will include beaches off Pevensey, Normans Bay and Bexhill.
Last Friday, Huw met with representatives of the local sea angling community and the Marine Conservation Society to discuss the proposal to designate a Marine Conservation Zone between Eastbourne and Hastings. The site which is known as Beachy Head East is recognised as an incredibly rich and biodiverse marine environment in the English Channel.
- area is characterised by a sandstone and chalk reef system which is home to a wealth of marine wildlife. There are also blue mussel beds, including the ‘Bexhill Mussel Garden’ which is a fragile living reef and host to many marine species. Unlike many other Marine Conservation Zones around the country which are out at sea, Beachy Head East Marine Conservation Zone would come up to the average high water line, meaning that vulnerable habitats such as intertidal chalk reef and mussel beds could be fully protected.
Marine protected areas have been proven to benefit local fisheries and improve local marine biodiversity. The designation of a marine protected area can also translate into increased business opportunities for the tourism and recreation sector as they have been shown to result in increased attractiveness of a specific area.
Huw said “I was very concerned to learn from our meeting that the delicate marine environment off our local beaches is showing signs of damage from industrial fishing and beam trawling which destroys and scars the sandstone and chalk reef. If these marine environments are not protected we risk losing precious habitats, rare species and important fish breeding grounds. That is why I am putting my full support behind the bid to include Beachy Head East in the final tranche of marine conservation zones. My Government is doing more than has ever been done in the past to protect our precious ‘Blue Belt’ and I will be working hard to make sure that the East Sussex coast is recognised for its biodiversity and conserved for generations to come.”