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The famous deep-water anchorage in West Cornwall is a magnet for wintering birds. Black-necked grebes, in particular, are drawn to Carrick Roads’ mild and tranquil waters, with one of the UK’s largest flocks a regular sight in winter. Black necked Grebe - Ferran Pestaña via Wikimedia Commons

Black necked Grebe - Ferran Pestaña via Wikimedia Commons

Currently the black-necked grebe gets no protection at all in the UK and this is one of its most important sites, which deserves the best protection we can give it. And making black-necked grebe a designated feature of a new marine conservation zone (MCZ) in Carrick Roads is the surest way to do that.

Some seabirds are already protected but an MCZ in Carrick Roads would help others such as red-necked grebe, red-breasted merganser, and many other sea and water birds. The government will decide later this autumn on what areas to include in a consultation due to start next year on the third and final tranche of MCZs in England.

Black-necked grebe - Mike Langman (RSPB images)MCZs are important for seabirds to ensure that important areas at sea are protected, just as their nesting areas are on land. These areas provide a safe haven where rare, declining or threatened species can be protected from harmful activity. Numbers have dropped drastically since 2000 and without adequate protection and management they will struggle to recover. A healthy marine environment does more than support seabirds. It also provides jobs in fishing, tourism and recreation, as well as bringing substantial economic benefits, which all depend on clean seas.

If you would like to support seabirds contact your MP and ask them to write to Therese Coffey, environment minister at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, calling for an MCZ at Carrick Roads to be included in the consultation.

Published: Nov 2016
Author: Claire Mucklow (RSPB Species and Habitats Officer-Cornwall)