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15 April 2010

Drop in to Southport

People in Southport are being urged to have their say about the future of the Irish Sea this Saturday.

Sea users from fishermen and sea anglers to water skiers, sailors and surfers are being invited along to a drop-in day at Ainsdale Discovery Centre on April 17th.

Staff from the project will be on hand to explain efforts to bring marine protection to the seas around the UK, including the Irish Sea.

There are now just six months left for sea users to come forward and share their information and observations about the areas of the Irish Sea they use, so that commercial and leisure interests can be taken into account in recommendations for the new Marine Conservation Zones.  

The drop-in day is between 10am and 4pm at Ainsdale Discover Centre. Everyone is welcome to stop by and find out more about the project.

Staff will also be on hand to help people fill in special maps that record the parts of the Irish Sea that are important to them.

The information from the maps will be considered when recommendations for Marine Conservations Zones in the Irish Sea are being developed.

For the first time in the UK, the recommendations will be developed by people with a real interest in the Irish Sea.

A Regional Stakeholder Group of 40 people encompassing a wide range of interests, from fishing to wind farms, will present its recommendations to the government by June 2011.

Since last June the team have spoken to over 1,500 people at over 80 meetings throughout the North West.

But the project is keen to get as much involvement as possible from a wide range of sea users who could find their activities affected by Marine Conservation Zones.

Possible restrictions could include no anchoring areas, new speed limits or even no-take zones.