It is a pleasure to have the opportunity to contribute to this debate. I wish to speak to amendment 3, which I tabled. It would amend clause 117, which deals with the grounds for the designation of marine conservation zones. The amendment relates to the Minister's power to order that a zone should be designated as an MCZ. The Bill enables the Minister, where he or she finds it desirable, to create an MCZ for the purposes of protecting and conserving flora and fauna, our marine habitat, and features of geological and geomorphological interest. The amendment would strengthen the Bill by enabling the Minister to create a zone to protect the marine ecosystem as a whole. We are no longer in a position whereby we can regard our sea as an unlimited renewable resource. As most of us know, the intervention of humankind has not only caused significant depletion of our fishing stocks but led to the degradation of all sorts of other forms of marine life. The amendment aims to strengthen the range of circumstances in which an MCZ could be designated.
I have personal experience of this matter in that for 15 years in my constituency there has been a significant campaign for an MCZ in Lamlash bay. Earlier this year, it was announced that there would indeed be an MCZ, but there has since been a great deal of frustration at the lack of progress towards that proposal becoming a reality. The organisation Coast-a community-based campaign in my constituency with more than 1,800 members-has been campaigning for an MCZ, and the work that it has carried out shows the difficulty that there is in obtaining such zones.
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