Marine Conservation Society Press Release
Back to press releases
Seabritain 2005 - The Battle For Britain's Seas Continues20th October 2005
Embargoed for 21st October 2005
On the bicentenary of Nelson’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) has reported that the Battle for Britain’s Seas is yet to be won. MCS says the battle for our seas is no longer a battle to defend our shores from human invaders, but a battle over ever diminishing fish stocks and against increasing tides of waste.
200 years ago, in Nelson’s day, the seas around Britain were a dangerous and forbidding environment for sailors and fishermen – and full of fish! With the industrial revolution and advances in ship-building and safety, the oceans are now a safer, more accessible and therefore increasingly exploited environment – with many fewer, smaller fish and a rising tide of waste.
MCS Director of Conservation, Samantha Fanshawe said: “The battle for Britain’s seas continues and the actions we take today will influence the state of our seas 200 years from now. Everyone can help protect our seas for this and future centuries so that our great great grandchildren can enjoy the wealth and beauty of marine life as much as we do today, enjoy a wide choice of fish to eat and the opportunity to make a sustainable living from the sea.”
MCS is calling for a Marine Bill, which includes legislation to establish Highly Protected Marine Reserves where marine life and fish stocks are protected from extractive activities such as fishing and dredging. Further actions that MCS says everyone can take to celebrate Trafalgar Day include taking part in Adopt-a-Beach to help keep our beaches clean of litter; choosing fish from sustainable sources by using the MCS Good Fish Guide www.fishonline.org and learning more about the wealth and beauty of Britain’s seas and shores by supporting MCS www.mcsuk.org
What has probably not changed since the early 1800s is the enjoyment that so many gain from the sea. In her article, ‘A life on the ocean wave’, Ann Hunt, MCS Enquiries Officer says: “People visited simply to gaze at the sea with wonderment, as its power and beauty must have been as obvious then as they are today”. Sadly, the awe that the sea holds for many is today marred because “The seas and wildlife would not, in those days, have suffered from relentless tides of plastic thoughtlessly disposed of.”
To mark Trafalgar Day, MCS has taken a look back on 200 years of change in our seas and the lessons we must learn if our seas are to survive the next two centuries with an article published today on its website http://www.mcsuk.org/monthly_article/article.htm
Contact: Richard Harrington, MCS Communications Manager 01989 566017 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) is the UK charity dedicated to the protection of the marine environment and its wildlife. Since its formation in 1983, MCS has become a recognised authority on marine conservation and is regularly consulted by Government for its views on a range of marine issues. MCS provides information and guidance on many aspects of marine conservation and produces the annual Good Beach Guide (www.goodbeachguide.co.uk) and Good Fish Guide, as well as promoting public participation in volunteer projects and surveys such as Beachwatch, Adopt-a-Beach and Basking Shark Watch.
SeaBritain 2005 is a celebration of Britain’s relationship with the sea – from the historic and traditional to the contemporary. The Battle of Trafalgar, which took place on 21st October 1805, is the focus for the celebration and an opportunity to remember one of the Royal Navy’s most important victories to protect Britain’s shores. www.seabritain2005.com
A Marine Bill is urgently needed to introduce new laws to better protect our marine wildlife and habitats and ensure the sustainable management of our seas and resources. MCS together with many other UK NGOs successfully lobbied Government and secured commitment to introduce a Marine Bill, which should be put to Parliament in 2006/07. The Marine Bill will be a once in a lifetime opportunity to improve the conservation and management of our seas.
MCS is calling for a Marine Bill which:
· establishes a network of nationally important marine protected areas including highly protected marine reserves where all extractive activities are prohibited
· strengthens laws to protect threatened, rare and vulnerable species and habitats from harmful activities such as noise pollution and reckless disturbance
· introduces a marine spatial planning system which plans how and where we use and exploit the sea including fishing, oil and gas exploration, offshore wind development, shipping and coastal development, to avoid conflicts between different users and prevent damage to marine biodiversity
· reforms the laws governing inshore fisheries to provide a viable and sustainable future for fish stocks and fishermen.
See www.mcsuk.org for more information.
Back to press releases