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Folkestone Pomerania Marine Conservation Zone

31st July 2015

The Secretary of State has signed a byelaw banning the use of bottom towed fishing gear in the Folkestone Pomerania Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ); the first such byelaw of its type anywhere in England.

This MCZ, designated in November 2013, is an inshore site located in the narrowest part of the English Channel. The MCZ is located approximately 6 km from the south-east Kent coastline and covers an area of approximately 33.6km2

The soft muddy areas within the MCZ support dense ross worm reefs and honeycomb worm reefs. This mix of habitats is not known to occur elsewhere in the south-east area and this MCZ is one of only two in the country that protect honeycomb worm reefs.

The introduction of this byelaw by Kent and Essex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority, following extensive consultation with the local fishing community and the Wildlife Trust, protects these unique habitats and features from damage due to bottom towed fishing gear activities.

Kent Wildlife Trust has commented that The Folkestone Pomerania is a beautiful marine site which was recommended by stakeholder groups to be designated as a Marine Conservation Zone for a variety of important habitats and species. Kent Wildlife Trust's Seasearch survey divers have recorded diverse wildlife, including colourful sponges, anemones and soft corals, living on rocky ledges and boulders there, and the Trust is very pleased to see a byelaw in place to protect these delicate animals and their habitats from damage.

For details of the full text of the byelaw please click here