Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Call to Action for MCZs

It was a fantastic turnout at last weeks Shoresearch training evening. Thanks to all those who came from all ends of the county. A total of 27 volunteers attended, including a number of new recruits, several experienced VMCA committee members and volunteers, several marine scientists, local marine lecturers and even staff from Natural England.

It is really great that so many people want to get involved with the Shoresearch programme. I think it bodes well for the year to came and hope that we get a good set of results. Collecting good quality verifiable records of rare shore species will be vital as this summer will be last chance we have to provide much needed data to back up the next tranche of MCZs.  We need a coherent network of Marine Conservation zones around our coast for the long term benefit of our valuable marine habitat and we only have until September to do this so this is a real call for action! 

Sites we need to get data for are Mounts bay rMCZ, Lands End rMCZ, Newquay and Gannel Estuary rMCZ , Hartland point to Tintagel rMCZ, and St Ives Bay.
It is important that we get out and survey as much as we can in these areas this year as the data collected will be really useful in arguing the case for these zones will be vital to ensure that we get a cohesive network of MCZs throughout our waters.

Keep looking out for core species and don't forget that there are a few more species not included that will be really significant if you find them: these are;

  • Eel grass (live, not washed up on the beach)
  • Stalked Jellyfish - you must take good macro photos and get GPS positioning to go with the photos.
  • Giant Goby for more information on these see my earlier post.
  • Peacocks tail sea weed,
  • Maerl beds,
  • Honeycomb worm reefs,
  • Under boulder communities (boulders are classed as rocks larger than 25cm diameter and there must be several encrusting species - ascidians, sponges, bryozoans, keel worms etc living beneath the rocks. Please take lots of photos,
  • Couches goby
  • Gooseneck barnacle Pollicepes pollicepes 
  • European Eel,
  • Native oyster,
  • Mussel beds  -where mussels grow on soft substrates and themselves create a new habitat

Don't forget carrying out a survey is easy and if you can't make many of the organised survey dates you are encouraged to go out and carry out your own shoresearch. All you need is a digital camera, a recording sheet (which can be downloaded here) and a GPS or GPS enabled smart phone.
Please remember though to keep safe on the shore and follow the sea shore code!

Send your data and photos in to me at

Don't forget you can also use the Shoresearch Cornwall dropbox - just drop me an email and I will send you an invite!

Giant goby 

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