The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, Sir Patrick Mayhew, has announced his intention to declare the Strangford Lough area on the County Down coast a Marine Nature Reserve. He has been advised on this by the Council for Nature Conservation and the Countryside (CNCC)* and by the staff of relevant Government Departments. Strangford Lough has been recognised as an important site for marine biology for more than a century and has been used for the study of this subject for about 50 years. In the 1980s the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland commissioned biological surveys of the shores and coastal waters of the Province. These confirmed the importance and generally good environmental status of Strangford Lough and the writer s recommended its conservation through statutory designation.