More great news today - Ramsey Bay in the Isle of Man has been announced as the island's first Marine Nature Reserve after a three year consultation with the community and support from organisation Friends of the Earth.
The designation means that the bay will be protected from a number of activities that damage ocean ecosystems including aggregate extraction, gillnetting and dumping dredging materials. Fisheries will also be safeguarded (angling activities / events will be strictly 'catch and release') and it will be a centre for marine research. Any applications for development in the area will have to be approved by DEFA and are subject to an EIA.
The brilliant news means that Ramsey Bay can begin to restore damaged ecosystems and boost the numbers of many marine populations, such as eelgrass and pink maerl beds. Previous underwater studies had revealed the bay as a highly complex and diverse biotope. In August, scientists from the Fisheries Directorate of DEFA carried out surveys using seabed mapping equipment and cameras on underwater sledges to help produce detailed diagrams of the species and habitats there.
Now, the area will be subject to regular dives to monitor populations and the seabed.
Let's hope this is one MNR announcement of many to come...