The 4th Studland Bay Conservation and Recreational Activity Working Group Meeting

The Seahorse Trust attended the 4th Studland Bay Conservation and Recreational Activity Working Group Meeting on Monday in Poole, Dorset, to discuss the Draft MAIA Seagrass report. [MAIA means Marine Protected Areas in the Atlantic Arc) which was put together by Dr Emma Jackson and Dr Ken Collins. It is a 261 page comprehensive report on seagrass habitats and the effects on them and highlights Studland bay as an example.

On the whole it was a very successful meeting despite the disruptive, rude attitude of a few boat owners and it lays the way forward for Studland to become a Marine Protected Zone and for Environmentally Friendly Moorings (EFM’s) to be trialled in the bay. The report highlighted the problems facing the seagrass, especially at Studland which they showed categorically is fragmenting as the trust has observed and been reporting for years now. We have finally been vindicated in our observations and this report has shown the degradation and fragmentation of the seagrass meadow, especially since 2008.

Next year we should know for sure if Studland is to become a Marine Protected Zone (MPZ); it has all the attributes to make it one, and at that stage the hard work of coordinating a diverse group of stakeholders will come into place, all of whom have varying needs and wants.

Here at the trust we feel it is possible to address everyone’s needs and still allow the bay to be used by many boats with the installation of EFM’s. There is to be a public consultation period about making Studland an MPZ, so please let the authorities know your views when this starts. We will report where and when this happens as soon as we know.

We would like to thank everyone for their amazing support over Studland and this proves that people power can and will make a difference in the protection of our natural world.

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