Marine Conservation Zones

What is an MCZ?

The Welsh Government is in the process of consulting on the introduction of Marine Conservation Zones to the Welsh Coast. The proposal covers ten zones of which three zones will be chosen after consultation. There has been considerable protest from different parts of the community in both North and South Wales primarily lead by local commercial fishermen who see a big impact on their livelihood. The proposals appear to be in an advanced stage of scientific development, but at no stage to date has any socio-economic impact been considered. The commercial fishermen have now been joined by other sea going groups who have begun to realise the impact it will have on their activities.

Effectively the introduction of such a zone will be classed as a ‘highly protected area’ where the natural marine environment can be left to develop on its own. It is not expected that any significant changes to marine life could be measured until the zones had been in place for at least ten years or longer before any major review might be made. In theory this is fine, but the restrictions that go with them will carry significant fines of between £5,000 and £50,000 for an infringement of one of the following:

  • No fishing – commercially
  • No fishing – recreationally
  • No anchoring
  • No dredging
  • No diving
  • No energy extraction
  • No waste disposal

    Details of the Zones and impact

    Below are the details of the two zones in Tremadoc Bay where these restrictions will apply. The impact of these restrictions could go even further than the above list. Llanbedrog beach for instance is included in one of the zones. It has recently been suggested that children catching and removing shrimps or even snails from rock pools in a zone could be in breach of the restrictions and open to fines. A school visit to the beach would require a licence to study the marine environment on the beach and thus avoid breaching a restriction. An impact like this could cause the public to boycott the beach with knock on economic effects to the local community. Boats will be unable to anchor at either Llanbedrog or the East St Tudwal Island. Some boat owners have even suggested if the scheme restricts their enjoyment they will move to other areas of the country with a further negative impact on the local economy. Other sites, outside Tremadoc Bay, are experiencing similar issues for which responses are being prepared by local groups.

    The Club is in the process of preparing a response to the proposals which could have a major impact on the local economy and recreational activities. If you have any comments, please contact the Club Secretary. Further details of the proposal can be seen at

    Llanbedrog MCZ

    Dwyfor MCZ

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