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Marine Conservation Zones

Volume 508: debated on Thursday 25 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what the minimum conservation objective for marine conservation zones will be; (323887)

(2) what assessment he has made of the likely effectiveness of the establishment of marine conservation zones in protecting the full range of biodiversity in UK waters.

The UK has and is making progress in reducing its environmental footprint in the marine area.

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are an integral part of our comprehensive marine policy. We are committed to designating enough MPAs by end 2012 to ensure we have contributed to a UK ecologically coherent network of sites.

We consider that the concept of Good Environmental Status should guide the minimum level acceptable for Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) objectives, as far as that is an appropriate measure for a site-based conservation tool. This will be defined through implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.