The RYA urges everyone with an interest in our seas to participate in the Government's public consultation on the second tranche of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) ahead of this month's closing date of Friday, 24 April 2015.
There is now less than three weeks to give your views on whether 23 sites in English waters should become MCZs. Taking part in the consultation means that individual views will be heard and recorded as part of the decision-making process.
The 23 sites proposed would cover 10,810 square kilometres of our seas, protecting important seabed habitats and species.
We support the UK and Devolved Governments' shared vision for clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas and in most cases, we believe this vision can be achieved without any adverse impact on either the public right or the safety of navigation for recreational boating.
As part of the public consultation, we have been considering the Government's proposals in detail to ensure that they are based on objective and robust evidence and that any potential impacts on recreational boating interests are minimised.
Protecting boating interests
We've worked closely with our regional network of volunteers to ensure that the interests of our affiliated clubs and members are reflected in the RYA's response to the consultation. We've actively contacted clubs to obtain local knowledge about the level of recreational boating activity that takes place in and around the proposed MCZ sites.
We also met with Defra officials in March to discuss all the proposed sites for the second tranche of MCZs and to confirm Defra's plans for tranche three consultations.
How can I take part?
Whilst we'll be representing the interests of our clubs and members in our formal response to the consultation, we're also strongly encouraging recreational boaters to respond to Defra directly.
Defra has asked us to encourage our clubs and members to focus their responses on the specific questions asked; however there is space that allows for general comments to be made. Defra's preferred method for people to participate is online because it is the fastest and most cost-effective way for them to collate, analyse and summarise responses - however responses by post and email are also accepted.
The full consultation document together with instructions on how individuals can submit comments is available online.
You can complete the MCZ second tranche questionnaire at https://consult.defra.gov.uk/marine/tranche2mczs
Don't miss the boat
Our thanks are extended to who have already contributed their views through meetings, telephone conversations and by emails to firstname.lastname@example.org
The public consultation closes on 24 April 2015 - so don't delay, have your say today.