Wildlife in three of Lancashire’s major estuaries could receive protection after the Government announced a consultation on 41 proposed Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) around the UK.
Sites on the Ribble Estuary and the Wyre and Lune Estuaries are among the areas which will now go out to public consultation. The Government are looking for the views and support from people living in those areas to ensure that they are protected into the future.
Marine Conservation Zones or MCZs are areas at sea where wildlife is protected from damaging activities. A total of 41 special places have been chosen for the public to comment on; these range from seagrass beds in Studland Bay, Dorset to deep, rich mud habitats in the western Irish Sea.
Senior Marine Conservation Officer for the North West Wildlife Trusts, Dr Emily Baxter said: “This is wonderful news for Lancashire. We were really hopeful that these special estuaries would be considered for protection, so this is a great step in the right direction.
“The Ribble and Wyre/Lune estuaries are vitally important areas for wildlife, and not just for the hundreds of thousands of wading birds and geese that arrive here every winter to feed on the mud flats. These estuaries are proposed to provide protected areas for smelt, a type of fish also known as the cucumber fish for its distinctive cucumber-like smell. Smelt populations have declined dramatically over recent decades and it is hoped that the designation of these MCZs would help them thrive again.