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UK Marine Protection Plan Unveiled
By Joseph Tepper, September 8, 2011 @ 11:24 PM (EST)
Source: BBC News

More than 100 Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) have been proposed this week, in a collaborative effort to protect the UK seas.

The proposed zones range from coastline to hundreds of feet deep on the sea floor and are the result of the 2009 UK Marine Bill. The proposed zones face a panel of experts before a government decision is made, likely early next year. The panel is especially critical in determining not only which zones are approved, but also what restrictions will exist.

"Today has seen our ambition to put in place special protection areas for marine life off the coast of England take a significant step forward," said Environment Minister Richard Benyon. "The thousands of species of sealife and habitats that live hidden under our waters need just as much protection as those that we can see on land."

If all the 100 plus zones are approves, 25 percent of the UKs waters will be covered with varying levels of protection, from fishing limits to entire no-take zones. This would be a big step for a region whose current system protects less than 1 percent of its waters.

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