There is less than three weeks left to take part in public consultation on second tranche of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs).

The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) is urging everyone with an interest in our seas to participate in the Government’s public consultation on the second tranche of MCZs ahead of the closing date of Friday, 24 April 2015.

There is now less than three weeks to give your views on whether 23 sites in English waters should become MCZs.

The 23 sites proposed would cover 10,810 square kilometres of our seas, protecting important seabed habitats and species.

The consultation also seeks your views on whether it would be appropriate to add new features for conservation in 10 of the first tranche MCZs.

MCZs, together with other types of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), will form the UK contribution to an international ecologically coherent network of MPAs and help to deliver the vision of clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas.

The sites proposed in this consultation protect a range of species and habitats, such as barnacles, blue mussels, limpets, whelks and periwinkles. Another feature protected in these sites are sandy beaches that may appear devoid of life, but in fact host a range of species such as shrimp-like sandhoppers, cockles, sea snails and worms.

The RYA supports the UK and Devolved Governments’ shared vision for clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas and in most cases, believes this can be achieved without any adverse impact on either the public right or the safety of navigation for recreational boating.

As part of the public consultation, the RYA has been considering the Government’s proposals in detail to ensure that they are based on objective and robust evidence and that any potential impacts on recreational boating interests are minimised.

Protecting boating interests

The RYA has worked closely with its regional network of volunteers to ensure that the interests of its affiliated clubs and members are reflected in the RYA’s response to the consultation.

A spokesman said: ‘We’ve actively contacted clubs to obtain local knowledge about the level of recreational boating activity that takes place in and around the proposed MCZ sites.

‘We also met with Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) officials in March to discuss all the proposed sites for the second tranche of MCZs and to confirm Defra’s plans for tranche three consultations.’

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How can I take part?

Whilst the RYA will be representing the interests of our clubs and members in a formal response to the consultation, the national governing body for boating, is also strongly encouraging recreational boaters to respond to Defra directly.

The full consultation document together with instructions on how individuals can submit comments is available online.

You can complete the MCZ second tranche questionnaire at