Example of marine life

Lundy 40/25 Celebrating 40 Years of Marine Conservation at Lundy

In 2011, Lundy celebrated 40 years of work to protect its marine biodiversity and a flavour of achievements over that period is given below.

Lundy comes first... and first, and first and first! The first voluntary marine reserve, first statutory Marine Nature Reserve, first No-Take Zone and first Marine Conservation Zone in Britain. An enviable reputation that reflects the suitability and importance of the island as a marine nature reserve, originally suggested in the Journal of the Devon Trust for Nature Conservation in 1969. That article, by Heather Machin, was just the start and, during 1971, 40 years ago, publicity and consultations about a voluntary reserve came to fruition via the Lundy Field Society (LFS) in collaboration with the island authorities and the Nature Conservancy and a management policy was published in the LFS report for 1972. In 1986, twenty-five years ago, the island was declared the first statutory marine nature reserve in Britain.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, concerns were mainly about divers taking souvenirs; many dried sea fans left the island in tea chests destined to be sold as curios and the population of crawfish was also being decimated. Whilst a word in the ear of the diving operation on the island was enough to stop collecting sea fans, the crawfish continued to go to market and by the 1980s had become a rarity at Lundy (and elsewhere in south-west Britain). The other obvious damaging activity was mobile fishing gear and, through the Devon Sea Fisheries Committee a voluntary agreement not to dredge off the east coast was achieved. The Devon Sea Fisheries Committee was also instrumental in establishing the highly successful no-take zone off the east coast of the island through a bye-law in 2003.

Throughout all of the planning and legislation, the research and monitoring at Lundy has taught us a great deal about marine ecology and about the biology of species that are in need of protection. Lundy was joined over subsequent years by other voluntary marine conservation areas: all of them play their part in protecting species and habitats and in helping the public to enjoy marine wildlife.

More information on the 40/25 milestone, events, downloads etc.

The Marine Conservation Zone is administered by Natural England, please contact them for further information - or talk to the Warden when you are on the island.