Jun 13, 2018

Consultation on the Third Tranche of Marine Conservation Zones Includes Smelt in the Solway

Views are being sought on the proposal to designate 41 Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) in the third tranche of designations, and to add new features to 12 existing MCZs designated in the first and second tranches in England.


This will be the third and final tranche of MCZs and the designation of the sites proposed will substantially complete the contribution in the Secretary of State’s waters to an ecologically coherent network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the North East Atlantic. This is a key element of an ambitious programme to protect and enhance the marine environment, while supporting sustainable use of its assets, to achieve the government’s vision of clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas as set out in the 25 Year Environment Plan.




The Solway Firth has been recommended as a Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) to protect the fish - Smelt (Osmerus eperlanus). Smelt were once widespread in estuaries in the UK but have declined considerably over the past 200 years. They are known to congregate in large shoals in lower estuaries and migrate into freshwater where they spawn in spring. Estuaries such as the Solway Firth therefore provide critical habitats required to complete smelt lifecycles, including for feeding and post-larval development. Due to the decline of the Solway smelt population, the large shoals and migrations of fish are now believed to be significantly smaller than they were in the past.  The factsheet for the Solway can be downloaded here


To download information on the Consultation click here or visit the website here


Solway Firth Partnership