MP supports bid for a local Marine Conservation Zone

L-R: Peter Richardson (Marine Conservation Society), Tim MacPherson (director of Angling Trust), Steve Hanks (angler and owner of Hook, Line and Sinker in Bexhill), Huw Merriman MP, Alice Tebb (Marine Conservation Society)
L-R: Peter Richardson (Marine Conservation Society), Tim MacPherson (director of Angling Trust), Steve Hanks (angler and owner of Hook, Line and Sinker in Bexhill), Huw Merriman MP, Alice Tebb (Marine Conservation Society)

Bexhill and Battle MP, Huw Merriman, is supporting the bid for a new Marine Conservation Zone that will include beaches off Pevensey, Normans Bay and Bexhill.

Mr Merriman met with representatives of the local sea angling community and the Marine Conservation Society to discuss the proposal to designate a Marine Conservation Zone between Eastbourne and Hastings.

The site, known as Beachy Head East, is recognised as an incredibly rich and biodiverse marine environment in the English Channel.

The area is characterised by a sandstone and chalk reef system which is home to a wealth of marine wildlife. There are also blue mussel beds, including the Bexhill Mussel Garden, which is a fragile living reef and host to many marine species.

Unlike many other Marine Conservation Zones in the UK which are out at sea, Beachy Head East Marine Conservation Zone would come up to the average high water line, meaning vulnerable habitats such as intertidal chalk reef and mussel beds could be fully protected.

Marine protected areas have been proven to benefit local fisheries and improve local marine biodiversity.

Mr Merriman said “I was very concerned to learn from our meeting that the delicate marine environment off our local beaches is showing signs of damage from industrial fishing and beam trawling which destroys and scars the sandstone and chalk reef. If these marine environments are not protected we risk losing precious habitats, rare species and important fish breeding grounds. That is why I am putting my full support behind the bid to include Beachy Head East in the final tranche of marine conservation zones. My Government is doing more than has ever been done in the past to protect our precious ‘Blue Belt’ and I will be working hard to make sure that the East Sussex coast is recognised for its biodiversity and conserved for generations to come.”