If you’ve ever been to the English coast, watched birds there, enjoyed a breezy cliff-top coastal walk, maybe even got into the water (or all three if you're very energetic), you now have the chance to use your information to help direct the decisions about where new Marine Conservation Zones are designated.
The MCZ regional projects
At the moment there are four (imaginatively named?) regional projects around the English coast – for the south-west (Finding Sanctuary), south-east (Balanced Seas), North Sea (Net Gain) and Irish Sea (Irish Sea Conservation Zones). These projects have been set up to involve the widest range of people in the decisions about where our Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) should be designated. We’re involved as closely as possible with all of these projects – with RSPB staff making sure they have our seabird data, and reminding them at every step of the importance of setting up protected areas for all marine wildlife, including seabirds.
However, now you have a chance to have your say as well – with the launch of a new online tool (www.mczmapping.org) for collecting your data and information about marine wildlife, as well as information on how and where you like to use and enjoy our coasts and seas. So whether you like watching razorbills at Ramsgate, seals at Skegness or just paddling at Padstow, now is the time to share that love of the sea and its wildlife to ensure it is better protected.
How you can help safeguard our seabirds
To input information to the site you first have to register your details, but this doesn't take long, and once completed you are free to either view the maps or add your own information. You can choose what ‘role’ you want to add information under – e.g. wildlife watcher, or recreational/leisure user amongst others. You can add contributions up until the end of September 2010.
Please help win protection for our important marine areas by following these simple steps:
1. Visit www.mczmapping.org
2. Register your details and your interest ‘role’ (are you a wildlife watcher, a recreational user? You can have multiple roles...)
3. Once registered, choose the ‘Add’ tab at the top left of the page
4. Click on the ‘Where you go’ button (to add information about where you do certain activities) or the ‘Ecological data’ button (to add information about where you have seen marine wildlife)
5. Select your map drawing tool – polygon, line or point
6. Draw away! Once you've drawn your shape, line or point on the map the website will ask you for details of what goes on there and what months of the year it happens.
7. Send the link to your colleagues, family and friends and get them to input their information about their favourite places too!
Please do spare some time to visit the website and upload your information. Every bit of information you submit will help to bolster the case for protection of sites to support the marine environment – and our seabirds!