Yachts continuing to anchor in protected area

Natural England is calling on yachtsman to support Studland Bay’s no-anchor zone, after concerns were raised that many boats continue to anchor in the area.

The voluntary zone is in place so scientists can examine the impact of boat anchoring on the Dorset bay’s seahorse population.

There are concerns that the seahorse’s main habitat, seagrass, is disturbed by anchoring, although some people argue that seagrass has increased considerably over recent years despite, or even because of, anchoring in the bay, and it is hoped the study will provide scientific evidence to confirm either claim. 

But Fiona McNie, marine adviser for Natural England who are managing the project, said: ‘We really need the support of recreational boat owners for the success of this project, in particular to ensure we gather the evidence required for any future management decisions.

‘It is not our intention to prevent the enjoyment of the bay by those who currently anchor there, but in order to gather the data we need the voluntary no-anchor zone to be observed by boat owners.’

The corners of the voluntary no-anchor zone are marked by four large round yellow buoys and there are two yellow buoys in the centre of the zone.