Public asked to name Marine Conservation Zone

The offshore area in Dorset will be considered by Natural England for protection from damaging activities.

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Dahlia anemone

A unique opportunity has arisen for members of the public to suggest names for a newly recommended Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ).

A public poll of the top 10 favourite names will decide on the best three, which will be submitted to Natural England.

The currently unnamed area is being proposed as a MCZ due to its seabed habitat, known as ‘subtidal coarse sediment’.

“If this site is designated [as a MCZ], it will become a recognised landmark along the Dorset coastline,” said Emma Rance, marine conservation officer for the Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT).

The recommended MCZ is 191km2 in size and is located 30km south of Bournemouth.

Map showing the location of the recommended MCZ within Dorset. Seabed imagery © Dorset Wildlife Trust. Contains MCA data © Crown Copyright.

In addition to the subtidal coarse sediment habitat, the area also has a range of other habitats such as cobble and boulder reef, and bedrock exposures.

These habitats are home to variety of marine wildlife including soft corals, brittlestars and anemones, whilst monkfish, skate and sharks are known to use nearby areas as a nursery ground.

Starry smoothhound shark © Chris Roberts

The DWT are asking for the public to submit their name suggestions via their website by 15 January.

Read more wildlife news stories in BBC Wildlife Magazine

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