Extracts Of A Letter By Graham Eaton Regarding The Proposed MCZ's (30/05/2012)


I am a consultant geologist and professional wildlife photographer. With respect to the former, I have worked extensively on the post glacial evolution of the Irish Sea (including Cardigan Bay), its geomorphology, sedimentology and structure. With respect to photography, I am an international award winning photographer, specialising in underwater photography. I provide images, for the National Trust, the Wildlife Trust, the RSPB and numerous magazines. I am proud to have a special relationship with the North Wales Wildlife Trust, in that I have given them free use of my images, for the past 6 years. I have made more than 150 dives in the area of Zone 5, and have photographed many of the species that you describe.

While I am wholly behind marine and terrestrial conservation, I am extremely concerned that the Government and its advisors have rather missed the point, with several of the Zones around Llyn. You describe in your text ‘areas of high productivity’; ‘sea squirts and bryozoans are increasingly common’; ‘500 animals from 85 different species recorded in a single grab of sediment’; ‘ a species which is more commonly found on the south coast’. All of these statements, and the majority of the text describes a thriving ecosystem, within which exist, rare beasties, and also invasive species (which we now want to protect?) such as Mantis shrimps.

Surely, this can be interpreted as a system that is working, growing and thriving. So what are we protecting it from?. I can guarantee that a grab sampler does far more damage to the sea bed than the majority of activities that you are wishing to stop.

Having dived extensively in the area, for more than 20 years I have seen a progressive improvement in the fabric and fauna of the sea bed particularly since scallop trawling / dredging was banned. However, this activity still goes on, often at night, and this is what is causing the damage, and this is what you should aim to stop. I have seen areas very close to Llanbedrog, that have been trawled. All of the activities that you describe are wholly insignificant, when scallop trawling is being allowed to happen. How many have been prosecuted?.

This is where you have missed the point!. You want to damage, and in some cases stop local business, stop anglers and divers enjoying this fantastic area. The reason many people come to Llyn is to enjoy the sea!. The reason trawlers fish at night, is because it is illegal and they can get away with it. If this MCZ is permitted, the trawlers wont stop!, but you will pounce upon a pleasure boat that drops an anchor in the wrong place. How will you police and monitor the area?, the resources would be better spent purchasing a fast Rib and catching the trawlermen.

We already have, closed periods when divers cant and don’t, take scallops, we have a ‘V’notch system for taking lobster. The fact that the area is worth protecting, is due to the way that local fishermen, sports anglers and divers have sustainably, self managed and respected this area.

Please do not stop the enjoyment of many, when you are targeting the wrong people and activities.







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