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Hampshire and IOW Wildlife Trust

HQ Location: 
Hampshire

Location of benefit: 
UK only (local)

Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust is the leading nature conservation charity across the two counties.
We have a successful 50 year history with the support of 28,000 members, and are part of the UK-wide Wildlife Trusts partnership.
We protect wildlife by:
. managing over 6,000 hectares of land including 47 nature reserves
. delivering habitat restoration and species conservation projects
. providing advice and assistance to landowners
. inspiring thousands of people every year through educational
programmes and volunteer activities.
Our vision is to create living landscapes and living seas rich in wildlife and valued by everyone.

Hampshire and IOW Wildlife Trust in the News

Time to speak up for protection for our seas

18 June 2012:Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust has launched a campaign to recruit ‘Friends of Marine Conservation Zones’. The campaign is linked to a new online resource - the first of its kind - providing details of locations, species and habitats for all of the conservation zones in the area. By creating accessible information about our Marine Conservation Zones, the Wildlife Trust hopes to inspire individuals to stand up for the extraordinary marine species and habitats we have around Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

In 1912, The Wildlife Trusts’ founder Charles Rothschild first championed the concept of a network of nature reserves on land. By 1915 a list of 284 sites 'worthy of preservation' had been compiled and since then vital wildlife sites on land have secured protection. One hundred years later we now have an opportunity to create an equivalent network at sea, but this opportunity may be lost unless we act now, according to the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust.

Last year 127 Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) in English and offshore Welsh waters were recommended to the Government for protection. Nine of these sites are within the Solent and around the Isle of Wight. All were selected through consultation with more than one million sea users and other interested parties. The list of MCZs is based on the best available evidence – as the Government itself asked for it to be – with sites due to be protected in 2012. However, the Government has stalled designation of any sites until 2013, citing lack of evidence. There are indications that even then only a small proportion of the network of 127 sites will eventually be designated.

Jolyon Chesworth, Head of Marine Conservation at Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, said: “Many of us are passionate about our local wildlife hotspots on land, and vocal about protecting them. But we don’t often see what’s living below the surface of the sea. We have some wonderful and fascinating marine life around our shores; chalk reefs encrusted with sponges and corals, underwater meadows of eelgrass, rare seaweed species and bizarre creatures such as seahorses, spoonworms and stalked jellyfish.”

“It took more than 34 years to get protection for the sites on the 1915 list. We must ensure our local MCZs do not face the same fate in having to wait as long for protection. Whilst the Government treads water, wildlife-rich areas remain vulnerable.”

“If we are better able to visualise our local marine life, and understand what it means to the community, we are more likely to push for its protection. That is why our Friends of MCZs campaign is so important, everyone will be able to look for their local MCZ, find out what lives there and why it is precious, get updates of photographs and video we will be gathering and most importantly, become a friend and help us demonstrate to Government that protecting our marine environment is just as important as protecting our land.”

Simon King, President of The Wildlife Trusts, said: “We have reached a crisis point for the health of our marine environment. We need to act now. The point is not to add a few more protected sites scattered randomly around our seas, nor is it simply to protect the rarest and most vulnerable of our species. The Marine Conservation Zone network represents a joined-up way of thinking - a way of balancing a natural credit account from which we have been drawing carelessly for decades and which now is in deep and dreadful debt.

“We must grab the opportunity before us with both hands and provide our seas, and ourselves, with the comprehensive, joined-up, ecologically coherent network that we so desperately need and that the Marine and Coastal Access Act promised us. This is our chance to leave the natural balance sheet better off than the one we inherited.”

Source: Hampshire & IOW Website