Dogger Bank heads marine protection list

The government has submitted proposals to designate a section of the North Sea almost twice the size of Devon for special area of conservation (SAC) status to the European Commission.

Marine protection: SAC would cover 12,000 square kilometres
Marine protection: SAC would cover 12,000 square kilometres
The Dogger Bank is home to crabs, starfish, clams and other crustacea and fish such as plaice, sole and sand eels. The SAC, which would cover 12,000 square kilometres, is the largest marine site to be submitted by any European member state for protection.

"Dogger Bank is home to a fantastic array of sea life and habitats and thoroughly deserves special protection. This marks a major step towards achieving our commitment to create an ecologically coherent network of marine protected areas," said environment minister Richard Benyon.

Government advisory body the Joint Nature Conservation Committee has begun public consultation on three more proposed SACs - the Wight Barfleur Reef in the English Channel and the Pisces Reef Complex and Croker Carbonate Slabs in the Irish Sea.

Meanwhile, Natural England has launched a consultation on a marine SAC along the Dorset coast from Studland to Portland. The proposed protected area covers 330 square kilometres and contains a range of range of rare reef features.

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