Sea sanctuaries - help needed

EXMOUTH S fishermen, lifeboat crews, pleasure boaters and other Exe Estuary users are being calling on to use their expertise - and help create a new network of sea-based nature reserves.

EXMOUTH'S fishermen, lifeboat crews, pleasure boaters and other Exe Estuary users are being calling on to use their expertise - and help create a new network of sea-based nature reserves.

Finding Sanctuary is a pioneering project to design a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the seas around South West England - and they want representatives from marine livelihoods and leisure activities to join its Steering Group.

Like the Exe Estuary, MPAs are any marine environment safeguarded because of its biodiversity or natural or cultural resources, and protection measures involve restricting specific types of activity - and a network of MPAs aim to restore ruined sea-based habitats.

Finding Sanctuary is the first of four regional projects to be established around England that will deliver a network as proposed in the Marine and Coastal Access Act.


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And following a meeting in Exmouth Tom Hooper, Project Manager said: "We need the help, advice and knowledge of sea anglers from the South West.

"During the meeting, the decision was made that Finding Sanctuary would approach sea angling clubs in the region and ask them to provide a sample of active sea anglers for interview, representing both boat and shore fishing disciplines.

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"During face-to-face interviews, sea anglers will be asked detailed questions about where they fish, how they fish, when they fish there, and what species they fish for. "Similar questions are being asked of all other sea-users, from commercial fishermen to divers. It was also agreed that Finding Sanctuary would try to recruit volunteers, ensuring that more face-to-face interviews with sea anglers could be carried out.

"With more than 250,000 sea anglers in the South West it will be a challenge for us to gather this detailed information, but as one of the key sea-user groups in the South West, it is vital that we work with them from the start to help us carefully plan a network of Marine Conservation Zones.

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