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23 April 2010


Thanks to the 26 people who kept us busy at our drop-in day in Southport on Saturday.

When our liaison officer, Emily Hardman, and communications manager, Matthew Sutcliffe, arrived at Ainsdale Discovery Centre on a glorious spring day, they had no idea how many people would drop by to find out more about Marine Conservation Zones.

They needn’t have worried.

As soon as the doors opened 13 local sea anglers and shrimp fishermen arrived, along with local Sea Fisheries Officer Steven Brown.

Several hours of lively debate ensued. Our staff learned about local fishing and shrimping activities and answered questions about Marine Conservation Zones and our project.

By the end of the day, eight people had taken time to sit down with Emily and fill out one of our maps showing which parts of the local area are important to them, and why.

This is a vital step as the maps will be digitised, combined with similar maps from other sea users, and given to our regional stakeholder group. The information will remain anonymous.

The members of the stakeholder group are the people who will actually recommend the sites and sizes of Marine Conservation Zones in the Irish Sea. They will be asked to take into consideration how people use the area, as shown on the maps.

Throughout the day a constant stream of visitors meant that we were able to meet local divers and conservationists, as well as fishermen and anglers.

We’d like to thank all the people who took the time to talk to us. Thanks also to Sefton Council for letting us use the Discovery Centre for the day.