Marine Conservation Society Press Release
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Minister Ben Bradshaw To Address Mcs Conference On Future Of Britain's Seas4 November 2005
Embargoed for 5th November 2005
On Saturday 5th November 2005, Marine Environment Minister Ben Bradshaw will speak to the Marine Conservation Society’s (MCS) Annual Conference and outline his vision of a Marine Bill to protect UK seas. The Conference, held at the University of Exeter, focuses on the future of UK seas, and the effects of climate change.
With international attention focussed on London this week as the city hosted world environment ministers for climate change discussions, the MCS conference comes as a timely reminder that the marine environment will play a crucial role in future climate change scenarios: regulating the world’s weather; bearing the brunt of many impacts; and providing natural resources for renewable energy. MCS believes that the Government’s proposed Marine Bill will, amongst other things, assist the development of marine renewables through marine spatial planning and help preserve marine biodiversity, hence helping it withstand the affects of global warming.
Sam Fanshawe, MCS Director of Conservation says “Climate change is yet another major impact to add to the pressures that our seas are already facing from pollution, fisheries and development. Climate change will radically alter our seas, on which we all depend. Urgent global action is needed to reduce carbon emissions, whilst UK legislation through a Marine Bill is vital to improve the resilience of marine ecosystems in the face of climate change.”
Marine Environment Minister, Ben Bradshaw, will speak at the Conference on the Government’s proposed Marine Bill, which MCS sees as an historic opportunity to protect marine life and better manage marine resources. In addition, MCS will outline its expectations of the Bill, including the critical need to establish a network of Highly Protected Marine Reserves where marine life and fish stocks are protected from all extractive activities such as fishing and dredging.
While press reports suggest the UK Government is wavering on reaching carbon emission targets previously ratified in the Kyoto protocol. MCS believes that along with the Marine Bill and renewable energy technology, Kyoto should play a central role in mitigating against the effects of global warming on the UK and its territorial waters.
Contact: Richard Harrington, MCS Communications Manager Tel: 01989 566017
Melissa Moore, MCS Senior Policy Officer, Email: Melissa@mcsuk.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.
Sea changes due to climate change include:
· North Sea temperature has risen by 0.6 degrees C in the past 40 years.
· North Sea fish have moved north in the past 25 years due to rising sea temperature.
· Warm water plankton species have moved north by 10 degrees latitude since 1960.
· Sea level around the UK has risen by about 10cm since 1900.
· If global emissions continue to rise at current trends, ocean pH could fall by 0.5 units by 2100 which could directly affect the growth of calcareous corals and growth of fish and plankton.
· Abnormally high sea surface temperatures in 1998 caused the death of more than 90% of shallow corals in the Indian Ocean.
Articles on climate change impacts on our oceans written by some of the speakers at the November 5th Conference and recently published in the Marine Conservation Society newsletter can be viewed online at www.mcsuk.org/MarineConservationClimateArticles.pdf
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, wave and tidal power, 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.
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