Scilly Receives Highest Rating For Marine Conservation Zone Data

The Isles of Scilly has achieved the highest ratings for all its proposed marine conservation zones.

That’s according to the Government’s Scientific Advisory Panel, who rated the quality of the evidence provided to support our application for eleven MCZs as five out of five.

The Council’s Maritime Officer, Steve Watts, told us this is a fantastic achievement and Scilly is the only area in the country to receive top marks for all its zones.

Selection of the MCZs, which will have special protection under new Government rules, was expected to take place in summer next year but has been delayed until 2013.

Steve says there were rumours that the panel wanted to merge the eleven proposed zones in Scilly into a single area and give it special reference status, which would have meant nothing could be taken from the sea. This would have severely limited fishing in the waters around Scilly.

However, the local Sea Fisheries Commission fought hard to resist this and Steve says Scilly has done an excellent job in bringing the fishermen, conservationists and other sea users together to reach a consensus on how our MCZs should be managed.

Steve hopes that the delay in designation of the zones won’t affect us too much and that, when the decisions are finally made, Scilly will be at the top of the list.