Studland Bay Marine Partnership

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Locally most people recognise that conserving the seagrass habitat is essential, but it will be difficult to implement a Voluntary No Anchoring Zone (VNAZ) if there are no alternatives for boat users to use the bay. To address this, a partnership of stakeholders including conservation organisations, academics and boating organisations have come together forming the Studland Bay Marine Partnership to devise a solution that meet the needs of recreational boaters to continue to enjoy the bay and protect the seagrass habitat, by achieving these key outcomes:

  1. Produce a mooring plan for Studland Bay by bringing stakeholders to gain agreement on location, timescale and proposed options for long-term funding.
  2. Create a draft management strategy and vision for the next 10 years that all users of Studland Bay can believe in and work towards, to incorporate:
    1. An eco-mooring management plan
    2. A plan of how to transition away from anchoring and conventional moorings
    3. Potential seagrass restoration projects
  3. Future governance options paper for the bay including roles and responsibilities to deliver the strategy.

This work has been funded by the Championing Coastal Coordination (3Cs) project which is an Environment Agency initiative with support from Natural England, the Marine Management Organisation and the Association of Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities.

Studland Bay Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) Background
Spiny Seahorse in the seagrass at Studland (photo: Neil Garrick-Maidment)


One of the main reasons that many people come to this beautiful part of Dorset is the sea. Protecting our coasts, and the species that live along them, is essential. Marine Conservation Zones (MCZ) provide protected areas that not only benefit the myriad forms of life that live in, on, and next to, the sea, but also have a huge impact on the coastal communities of which we are very much a part. Studland Bay is home to seagrass beds which provide a number of vital ecological functions. Seagrass beds stabilise sediments, provide habitat for species such as commercially important fish and seahorses, and act as a sink for atmospheric carbon. It is also home to bass and endangered undulate rays. Long-snouted seahorses are a designated feature of the MCZ and a protected species.

The sheltered conditions of the bay not only provide protection for sensitive habitats and species but is highly valued by boat and water users, and local businesses as an attractive environment for tourism and recreation. Also, importantly providing a sheltered refuge for both local boat users and those travelling long distances.

Since the Studland Bay Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) was established in May 2019, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) held a call for evidence seeking views on a draft Studland Bay MCZ marine non-licensable activity assessment and a range of management options. Feedback concluded that management measures would be developed for anchoring, due to the pressure it causes at current levels towards the designated features of the MCZ.

In March 2021, Dorset Coast Forum facilitated a formal engagement period to gain further input from stakeholders about three draft anchoring management options. A summary of the engagement can be found in the Studland Bay MCZ Engagement Feedback Report.


Voluntary No Anchoring Zone (VNAZ)

From December 2021, the MMO introduced a Voluntary No Anchoring Zone (VNAZ) in part of the bay currently used by recreational craft. The VNAZ has been expanded from 1 June 2022 (see the MMO's Studland Bay MCZ Habitat Protection Strategy and website for more information). At all times, anchoring in emergency situations will still be permitted.

The MMO have indicated that a sustainable alternative to anchoring in the VNAZ could be achieved through the use of Advanced eco-Mooring Systems (AeMS) to protect the seagrass habitat whilst allowing continued use by recreational craft. The Studland Bay Marine Partnership is actively looking to encourage water enthusiasts and boat users to respect the seagrass by not anchoring at the known seagrass locations and use permitted moorings.


MMO Map of Voluntary No Anchoring Zone (VNAZ)



Studland Bay Marine Partnership Moorings Map for Consultation June 2022


What's happening now and how to get involved?

At this stage Dorset Coast Forum are working with the partners and key stakeholders to draft a 10-year management strategy, a moorings plan and future governance options Studland Bay.

Partner and stakeholder workshops took place during January and February 2022 to draft these key management documents.

It is recognised the importance of having eco-moorings in place within the VNAZ, and the draft proposed documents are now being shared with the wider public during the Summer 2022.


Have Your Say!

The Studland Bay Marine Partnership are reaching out to the wider public to have their say on how the strategy and installations of the eco-moorings can be taken forward. Feedback from the survey relating to Eco-moorings and the survey relating to the draft strategy will be incorporated into the Studland Bay Marine Partnership management strategy for the group to take forward over the next 10 years.

Please take the time to read the proposed strategy and view the moorings plan (above). The Studland Bay Marine Partnership want to represent everyone who uses and has an interest in Studland Bay.

Complete the surveys by Friday 30 September 2022 to add your views and comments.

1. Eco-mooring Survey

2. Proposed Management Strategy Survey

Locally most people recognise that conserving the seagrass habitat is essential, but it will be difficult to implement a Voluntary No Anchoring Zone (VNAZ) if there are no alternatives for boat users to use the bay. To address this, a partnership of stakeholders including conservation organisations, academics and boating organisations have come together forming the Studland Bay Marine Partnership to devise a solution that meet the needs of recreational boaters to continue to enjoy the bay and protect the seagrass habitat, by achieving these key outcomes:

  1. Produce a mooring plan for Studland Bay by bringing stakeholders to gain agreement on location, timescale and proposed options for long-term funding.
  2. Create a draft management strategy and vision for the next 10 years that all users of Studland Bay can believe in and work towards, to incorporate:
    1. An eco-mooring management plan
    2. A plan of how to transition away from anchoring and conventional moorings
    3. Potential seagrass restoration projects
  3. Future governance options paper for the bay including roles and responsibilities to deliver the strategy.

This work has been funded by the Championing Coastal Coordination (3Cs) project which is an Environment Agency initiative with support from Natural England, the Marine Management Organisation and the Association of Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities.

Studland Bay Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) Background
Spiny Seahorse in the seagrass at Studland (photo: Neil Garrick-Maidment)


One of the main reasons that many people come to this beautiful part of Dorset is the sea. Protecting our coasts, and the species that live along them, is essential. Marine Conservation Zones (MCZ) provide protected areas that not only benefit the myriad forms of life that live in, on, and next to, the sea, but also have a huge impact on the coastal communities of which we are very much a part. Studland Bay is home to seagrass beds which provide a number of vital ecological functions. Seagrass beds stabilise sediments, provide habitat for species such as commercially important fish and seahorses, and act as a sink for atmospheric carbon. It is also home to bass and endangered undulate rays. Long-snouted seahorses are a designated feature of the MCZ and a protected species.

The sheltered conditions of the bay not only provide protection for sensitive habitats and species but is highly valued by boat and water users, and local businesses as an attractive environment for tourism and recreation. Also, importantly providing a sheltered refuge for both local boat users and those travelling long distances.

Since the Studland Bay Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) was established in May 2019, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) held a call for evidence seeking views on a draft Studland Bay MCZ marine non-licensable activity assessment and a range of management options. Feedback concluded that management measures would be developed for anchoring, due to the pressure it causes at current levels towards the designated features of the MCZ.

In March 2021, Dorset Coast Forum facilitated a formal engagement period to gain further input from stakeholders about three draft anchoring management options. A summary of the engagement can be found in the Studland Bay MCZ Engagement Feedback Report.


Voluntary No Anchoring Zone (VNAZ)

From December 2021, the MMO introduced a Voluntary No Anchoring Zone (VNAZ) in part of the bay currently used by recreational craft. The VNAZ has been expanded from 1 June 2022 (see the MMO's Studland Bay MCZ Habitat Protection Strategy and website for more information). At all times, anchoring in emergency situations will still be permitted.

The MMO have indicated that a sustainable alternative to anchoring in the VNAZ could be achieved through the use of Advanced eco-Mooring Systems (AeMS) to protect the seagrass habitat whilst allowing continued use by recreational craft. The Studland Bay Marine Partnership is actively looking to encourage water enthusiasts and boat users to respect the seagrass by not anchoring at the known seagrass locations and use permitted moorings.


MMO Map of Voluntary No Anchoring Zone (VNAZ)



Studland Bay Marine Partnership Moorings Map for Consultation June 2022


What's happening now and how to get involved?

At this stage Dorset Coast Forum are working with the partners and key stakeholders to draft a 10-year management strategy, a moorings plan and future governance options Studland Bay.

Partner and stakeholder workshops took place during January and February 2022 to draft these key management documents.

It is recognised the importance of having eco-moorings in place within the VNAZ, and the draft proposed documents are now being shared with the wider public during the Summer 2022.


Have Your Say!

The Studland Bay Marine Partnership are reaching out to the wider public to have their say on how the strategy and installations of the eco-moorings can be taken forward. Feedback from the survey relating to Eco-moorings and the survey relating to the draft strategy will be incorporated into the Studland Bay Marine Partnership management strategy for the group to take forward over the next 10 years.

Please take the time to read the proposed strategy and view the moorings plan (above). The Studland Bay Marine Partnership want to represent everyone who uses and has an interest in Studland Bay.

Complete the surveys by Friday 30 September 2022 to add your views and comments.

1. Eco-mooring Survey

2. Proposed Management Strategy Survey

  • Background

    The sheltered conditions of Studland Bay are highly valued by boat and water users from Poole and further afield along the South Coast. These conditions also help to create an important site for seagrass (which is a protected species in itself) and the diversity of marine life this habitat supports, such as the protected Spiny Seahorses and Undulate Rays. Since 2019 the Bay has been protected as a Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ), to protect 4 different features including the seagrass beds and spiny seahorses.

    With the recent introduction of the Voluntary No-Anchor Zone (VNAZ) in the area, established by the Marine Maritime Organisation (MMO), a Studland Bay Marine Partnership was formed with the aim of developing solutions that support sustainable recreation.  The partnership is made up of key stakeholders from the boating community (Royal Yachting Association, RYA Liaison group, boatfolk), conservation charities (The Seahorse Trust), land managers (National Trust, Dorset Wildlife Trust), researchers (University of Southampton), grassroots organisations (Oceans to Earth, Planet Purbeck), Studland Parish Council and Statutory bodies (Natural England, Marine Management Organisation).

     Advanced Moorings Systems (referred to in this survey as eco-moorings) play a key role in enabling sustainable boat use and the MMO have so far indicated that 100 licenses could be approved within the VNAZ area. The Studland Bay Marine Partnership have been exploring how those eco-moorings could be managed, funded, maintained and where they can best be located. This is set out in the ‘Studland Bay MCZ 10-year Management Strategy 2022-32’ and the eco-moorings map.  

    Studland Bay Marine Partnership Moorings Map for Consultation June 2022

     

    Have Your Say!

    The Studland Bay Marine Partnership are reaching out to the wider public to have their say on how the strategy and installations of the eco-moorings can be taken forward. Feedback from the survey will be incorporated into the Studland Bay Marine Partnership management strategy for the group to take forward over the next 10 years.

    Take Survey
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  •  

    The draft Studland Bay Marine Partnership strategy was created by the partnership group in early 2022. The purpose of the strategy is to:

    • Set a vision, strategic objectives and action plan for managing Studland Bay Marine Conservation Zone over the next 10 years
    • Provide a framework for restoring seagrass meadows within the MCZ and raising the profile of Seagrass with the visitors of Studland Bay
    • To be seen as a trustworthy resource and demonstrate that all key stakeholders are fairly represented and from conservation and recreational organisations

     Have Your Say!

    The Studland Bay Marine Partnership are reaching out to the wider public to have their say on how the strategy and installations of the eco-moorings can be taken forward. Feedback from the survey will be incorporated into the Studland Bay Marine Partnership management strategy for the group to take forward over the next 10 years.

    The full strategy document can be found here. Please give us your feedback on the draft strategy by answering the questions below.

    Take Survey
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Page last updated: 15 Aug 2022, 10:16 AM