Northern Ireland charts route to national marine protection

Nationally significant marine conservation zones will be based on the best available evidence and will avoid economic interests where possible

An ecological coherent network of marine conservation zones (MCZs) is planned for Northern Ireland by the end of 2016, according to a draft guidance document out for consultation.

The Department of the Environment Northern Ireland (DOENI) says “MCZs will safeguard vulnerable or unique species and habitats of national importance in the Northern Ireland inshore region”. This extends out to 12 nautical miles from the coast.

MCZs will complement existing European protected sites at sea and will contribute to the UK governments’ target to create an ecologically coherent network of marine protected areas for the UK.

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