120 MPs unite in call for better protection of UK seas

Richard Harrington By: Richard Harrington
Date posted: 11 November 2014

120 MPs unite in call for better protection of UK seas On the fifth anniversary (12th November 2014) of the Marine & Coastal Access Act, Over 125 MPs and 20 peers have signed up to a Marine Charter calling for a full network of Marine Protected Areas in UK seas.

120 MPs unite in call for better protection of UK seas On the fifth anniversary (12th November 2014) of the Marine & Coastal Access Act, Over 125 MPs and 20 peers have signed up to a Marine Charter calling for a full network of Marine Protected Areas in UK seas. The parliamentarians are supporting 21 NGOs - including MCS, RSPB, The Wildlife Trusts and WWF - who are championing Wildlife and Countryside Link’s é’Marine Charter’ campaign. The Charter is calling for commitments within the 2015 General Election manifestos for a full network of Marine Protected Areas in UK Seas. It is five years ago to the day since the landmark Marine & Coastal Access Act (2009) was passed with overwhelming cross-party support. The centre-piece of this legislation was the commitment to establish a network of Marine Protected Areas in response to the widely acknowledged crisis facing the health, diversity and productivity of our seas. Chair of Wildlife & Countryside Link’s Marine Working group, Joan Edwards, says: “This political support has added considerable weight to the united call from NGOs, overwhelming numbers of the public and the scientific and industry communities*. It is important, however, that this support translates into a firm, timetabled commitment as the parties craft their manifestos. Ø MCS Parliamentary and Policy Officer, Tom Hickey, says despite the forthcoming General Election, politicians from across the House have demonstrated united support for better marine protection: “It’s important however that rhetoric translates into a firm, timetabled commitment as the parties write their manifestos.” While this Parliament has seen the first Marine Conservation Zones established in English Seas, and Scottish Government has designated 30 Nature Conservation MPAs in Scottish Seas, it’s still a long way from the full network. Throughout our seas 35 marine species are still considered threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Only 27 of the 127 Marine Conservation Zones originally proposed for the English component of the UK network, critical to restoring iconic habitats such as eelgrass beds and chalk reefs, have so far been designated. Find out more about the Marine Charter here and how you can take action to encourage your MP to sign up.

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