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Friday, 19 July, 2002, 11:46 GMT 12:46 UK
Saving what lies beneath
Seal
Varied wildlife inhabits the shore of Lundy Island
The first fishing ban to protect sea life around Britain is expected to be put in place around Lundy Island off the north Devon coast.

The proposed "no-take zone" would outlaw fishing any creatures out of waters on the east side of Lundy Island Marine Nature Reserve.

It has been jointly proposed by English Nature and Devon Sea Fisheries and is expected to be approved by the government later this year.

The zone is designed to provide a refuge for sea creatures, improve the diversity of marine life in the area and increase the fish and shellfish stock nearby.

Starfish
The zone will provide a refuge for sea creatures
No living creatures including lobsters, crabs, and fish can be taken from the 3.3-square-km zone.

Ben Samson, Lundy Island Warden, said: "Some of it is very fragile and easily damaged by potting and anchors and that sort of thing.

"So the no-take zone will help to protect these very sensitive important marine habitats as well as actually acting as a nursery area for fishing and improve the fishing as well."

Lundy Island lies 19 kilometres (12 miles) north of the Devon coast in the Bristol Channel and is England's only marine nature reserve.

It is also a designated European Special Area of Conservation and features include:

  • reefs, sea caves

  • sub-tidal sandbanks

  • grey seals

  • sponges

    It is popular with divers and tourists and is owned by the National Trust and leased to the Landmark Trust.

    Chris Davis, English Nature's maritime conservation officer for Lundy said: "This is good news all round.

    "The marine life around Lundy Island is internationally important as well as being a valuable asset for local fishermen.

    Pioneering scheme

    "The no-take zone aims to ensure that our rich marine biodiversity is given full protection as well as providing some investment for the local fishermen in the future."

    Despite covering a small area, it is hoped Lundy Island's no-take zone will be the first of many.

    "Within the next five years, we would like to see more significant and larger no take zones set up around our coast," said Sir Martin Doughty, chairman of English Nature.

    Jellyfish
    A jellyfish swims in the seas around the island

    Dinghy and island
    English Nature patrols the waters off Lundy

    Marine life
    Spectacular marine life brings divers to Lundy

    Tourists visiting Lundy
    The wildlife attracts a steady stream of tourists

    Marine plant
    It is hoped the ban will protect marine plants


  • Click here to go to Devon
    See also:

    24 Feb 00 | Scotland
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