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Plan for New Marine Protected Areas in Kattegat Welcomed

22 January 2015

DENMARK - A decision from the Danish government to move forward with their intention to protect fragile environments in Kattegat has been welcomed by Oceana.

On Friday, the Danish Nature Agency presented their plan for new MPAs in Kattegat, with the aim of protecting soft-bottom habitats - areas that today do not have any kind of protection measures.

The new MPAs have been selected partly due to Oceana’s findings of rare Haploops crustaceans and horsemussel communities during at-sea expeditions in the Baltic Sea and Kattegat in 2011 and 2012.

In the deeper parts of Kattegat, Oceana filmed these communities that were thought to be extinct in this region. The communities are still found in the Sound, but these locations found by Oceana in Kattegat were new to science.

“We are extremely happy to learn that the protection of these communities in the Kattegat found by us, and for which we proposed protection back in 2011, is finally becoming a reality,” stated Hanna Paulomäki, Project Manager at Oceana’s Baltic Sea office.

“With the plan for these new MPAs, Denmark is taking a leading role in Europe in protecting these vital habitats on soft-bottoms which are generally not well acknowledged, even though they form an important living and feeding ground for a number of other species.”

In total, the Danish Nature Agency has planned for the designation of six new MPAs in Kattegat. These new MPAs will be managed and protected against the threat from harmful human activities such as bottom trawling, which disturbs the seafloor tremendously.

“We are also pleased to see that the authorities set up protection measures to manage human activities in Kattegat, for example fisheries, as proper management is essential in securing these areas on a long-term basis,” added Christina Abel, Marine Biologist at Oceana’s Baltic Sea office.

TheFishSite News Desk

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