A proposal to create a series of 10 marine national parks including one covering the Wash and north Norfolk has been met with interest.

Natasha Bradshaw, who co-authored a Blue Marine Foundation report which proposed the parks, said the idea was not to place further restrictions on commercial fishing, but to educate people about the marine environment and attract more investment to coastal communities.

She said: “There wouldn’t be any new regulations other than what’s already in existence. The message would be ‘we need to look after the sea’ and part of that would be supporting sustainable fisheries and local seafood.”

Fakenham & Wells Times: Fishing boats on Cromer beach.Fishing boats on Cromer beach. (Image: Archant Norfolk)

North Norfolk Fishermen's Society chairman John Davies said he was in favour of conservation of the seas. He said he did not see a need for further restrictions in north Norfolk because its crab and lobster fishermen already fished sustainably, with no bycatch.

“We try to work with the environment, not against it. All we want to do is carry on fishing as we have done for generations.”

John Lee, Cromer fisherman , said he and others were open to anything that would protect the environment.

He said: “As far as we’re concerned fishermen are conservationists anyway. It’s to our advantage to look after it."

Fakenham & Wells Times: Hilary Cox.Hilary Cox. (Image: Archant)

Hilary Cox, Norfolk co-ordinator for the Marine Conservation Society project Agents of Change, said of the proposal: “I don’t think it’s a bad idea but I don’t think it should be done at the expense of the fishing industry - a lot of the north Norfolk economy is based on that.

“I am all for protecting specific areas that need to be protected.”

Jennifer Lonsdale, from Great Ryburgh, a trustee and campaigner from the Environmental Investigations Agency, said she found the idea was interesting.

She said: “The important things about our coastal areas is that they’re absolutely vital to our economy, to biodiversity and to capturing carbon. They’re very important eco-systems.”

The marine parks would be designed to complement the conservation zones already set up around the coast, including the Cromer Shoal Chalk Beds Marine Conservation Zone.