By Sue Wells, Natural England
As described in MPA News November-December 2013, 27 new MPAs were designated in England in November 2013. Called Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs), these are a new type of MPA for the UK, designed to complement the existing MPA designations and to contribute to the developing UK MPA network. As described by Jen Ashworth in MPA News January-February 2011, recommendations for MCZs were developed by four regional stakeholder projects working concurrently so that the planning for this new network involved an "all-at-once" approach.
Great Barrier Reef Marine Park approves dredging plan
The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA) has approved a proposal to dump three million cubic meters of dredge spoils inside the marine park area. The dredge spoils, to be produced during the substantial expansion of a coal export terminal at Abbot Point (adjacent to the park), could smother nearby coral and seagrass habitats, according to more than 200 scientists who urged GBRMPA in a letter to oppose the proposal (www.abc.net.au/news/2014-01-29/scientists-lobby-to-halt-expansion-of-queensland-port/5225068).