Studland Bay MCZ Engagement and Management

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Why is Studland Bay a Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ)?

Studland Bay became a Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) in May 2019. This means that specific features within this area are protected and, where necessary, regulators manage marine activities. The protection of this area will help to deliver the government's vision of clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas.

The designated features of Studland Bay MCZ are seagrass beds, long-snouted seahorses, subtidal sand and intertidal coarse sediment.

The seagrass beds in Studland Bay provide a number of vital functions. They provide cover and shelter for a variety of species, such as seahorses, pipefish and crabs. Notably, they provide a nursery ground for a number of commercially important fish, including bass, sole and plaice. Seagrass beds also act as a sink for atmospheric carbon and stabilise sediments.

The resulting benefits of protecting this area to people include aiding prevention of coastal erosion, supporting commercial fisheries, helping to combat climate change and providing an attractive environment for tourism and recreation.

What has happened so far?

Since becoming an MCZ, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has been working hard to understand the levels of different activities taking place in the bay, and the conservation status of its protected species and habitats. In 2020, the MMO compiled a draft assessment of the impacts of relevant activities. This indicated that anchoring, mooring, powerboating, sailing, diving and snorkelling required consideration for management (marine non-licensable activities).

Between 28 October and 15 December 2020, the MMO held a call for evidence seeking views on the draft Studland Bay MCZ marine non-licensable activity assessment and a range of management options. Approximately 500 responses were received through online surveys or by email, providing valuable information to inform the MMO's decisions. Following a review of all feedback received from the call for evidence, the MMO 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, including an event for representatives from key stakeholder groups and a public event. The purpose of this engagement period was to enable the MMO to gain further input from stakeholders about three draft anchoring management options. Feedback informed the MMO’s approach to managing anchoring in Studland Bay MCZ. A summary of the engagement can be found in the Studland Bay MCZ Engagement Feedback Report.

Thank you to everyone who attended the public engagement online Zoom event on 25th March. We hope you found the event useful and informative.

The presentation slides from the event are now available and can be viewed here



What are the next steps?

The MMO has considered all the feedback received throughout the engagement period in deciding the next steps. The input of stakeholders has been valuable in informing the MMO’s decision. The MMO has now produced a Studland Bay MCZ Habitat Protection Strategy. Please visit the MMO’s Studland Bay MCZ page to view the strategy and find further information.

Why is Studland Bay a Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ)?

Studland Bay became a Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) in May 2019. This means that specific features within this area are protected and, where necessary, regulators manage marine activities. The protection of this area will help to deliver the government's vision of clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas.

The designated features of Studland Bay MCZ are seagrass beds, long-snouted seahorses, subtidal sand and intertidal coarse sediment.

The seagrass beds in Studland Bay provide a number of vital functions. They provide cover and shelter for a variety of species, such as seahorses, pipefish and crabs. Notably, they provide a nursery ground for a number of commercially important fish, including bass, sole and plaice. Seagrass beds also act as a sink for atmospheric carbon and stabilise sediments.

The resulting benefits of protecting this area to people include aiding prevention of coastal erosion, supporting commercial fisheries, helping to combat climate change and providing an attractive environment for tourism and recreation.

What has happened so far?

Since becoming an MCZ, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has been working hard to understand the levels of different activities taking place in the bay, and the conservation status of its protected species and habitats. In 2020, the MMO compiled a draft assessment of the impacts of relevant activities. This indicated that anchoring, mooring, powerboating, sailing, diving and snorkelling required consideration for management (marine non-licensable activities).

Between 28 October and 15 December 2020, the MMO held a call for evidence seeking views on the draft Studland Bay MCZ marine non-licensable activity assessment and a range of management options. Approximately 500 responses were received through online surveys or by email, providing valuable information to inform the MMO's decisions. Following a review of all feedback received from the call for evidence, the MMO 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, including an event for representatives from key stakeholder groups and a public event. The purpose of this engagement period was to enable the MMO to gain further input from stakeholders about three draft anchoring management options. Feedback informed the MMO’s approach to managing anchoring in Studland Bay MCZ. A summary of the engagement can be found in the Studland Bay MCZ Engagement Feedback Report.

Thank you to everyone who attended the public engagement online Zoom event on 25th March. We hope you found the event useful and informative.

The presentation slides from the event are now available and can be viewed here



What are the next steps?

The MMO has considered all the feedback received throughout the engagement period in deciding the next steps. The input of stakeholders has been valuable in informing the MMO’s decision. The MMO has now produced a Studland Bay MCZ Habitat Protection Strategy. Please visit the MMO’s Studland Bay MCZ page to view the strategy and find further information.

Page last updated: 13 September 2021, 12:17