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Living Coasts, Torquay’s coastal zoo and aquarium, is a registered education and science charity. Operations Manager Clare Rugg said: “We support the idea of effective, well managed MCZs and the need for sustainable fisheries and responsible recreation on and in the sea. “We need to balance the needs of people with the needs of nature. At the moment, nature is losing out. Humans put pressure on the environment through shipping, leisure and fishing. Marine Conservation Zones will help to protect important areas.” Living Coasts, Torbay’s coastal zoo, has long supported campaigns of this nature. Clare, who has been involved in environmental education and water science for many years, added: “In our ten years we have held beach cleans, talked about overfishing and handed out copies of the Good Fish Guide. We support sustainable fisheries and promote sustainable seafood. We campaigned for the Marine Bill which came in to force as the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009. We promoted the Your Seas Your Voice campaign for a network of Marine Conservation Zones. “You can’t underestimate the potential benefits to people - we believe this can be a real boost to tourism and the local economy, just like the English Riviera Geopark. The natural environment of Torbay, particularly the sea and coastline, are major drivers of tourism to the area MCZ will have significant positive impacts on tourism and leisure industries. “In Tor Bay the reefs and seagrass beds provide valuable nursery grounds for many fish and homes for such enigmatic species as the seahorse. They are hotspots for marine biodiversity. We could look at using these in a sustainable manner through diving, remote viewing and education.” Dr Amy Plowman is the Director of Conservation, Research and Advocacy for the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust, the charity which runs Paignton Zoo, Living Coasts and Newquay Zoo. “People don’t realise the wealth of marine life under the waves in our local waters. Compared to conservation on dry land, the protection of habitats and wildlife under the sea is decades behind. It’s out of sight, out of mind; marine habitats are extraordinary – but they are under-represented and under-protected, mostly because we do not see them and so do not think about them. If we all work together we will make this a success.”

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