A NEW Marine Protected Area (MPA) website has been launched to highlight the important marine wildlife of Dorset.

The Purbeck Coast Marine Conservation Zone is one of the MPAs within the project area.

This new website aims to explain the MPA management and celebrate the benefits that come from careful stewardship, including high-quality seafood.

Emma Rance, marine conservation officer at Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT), said: "We are proud to have been part of this positive project. 

"Whilst we have long since known the benefits of MPAs, we hope that the website and leaflets offer clarity on the beauty, management and use for one and all to appreciate, safeguard and ultimately benefit from - be it through industry or wellbeing.”

Over the last year DWT, along with partners from Southern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA), Natural England and National Trust, have worked with local fishermen as part of a project to improve public awareness on MPAs.

As part of the project, MPA Fishery Management Plans, leaflets and a website incorporating all the six MPAs in the Dorset, Devon and East Dorset area have been created. 

Visitors to the website will be able to learn about activities in the water, the history of each MPA and the reasons behind the designation – the protected wildlife and habitats within. 

Rob Clark, chief officer southern IFCA said, “We are delighted to have worked with representatives of Dorset’s coastal fishing communities and our partners on this project. The project really highlights the importance of collaboration and working together to achieve shared objectives. The management plans demonstrate and bring to life how, through effective fisheries and conservation management, the rich and diverse marine environment of Dorset is being protected whilst enabling low impact coastal fishing to continue and develop in a sustainable manner”.

Visit dorsetmpas.uk for further information.