MCS in group of conservation organisations calling for 30% protection of British marine areas

Richard Harrington By: Richard Harrington
Date posted: 19 May 2011

MCS in group of conservation organisations calling for 30% protection of British marine areas MCS is part of the newly formed Marine Reserves Coalition which has launched a manifesto calling on the British government to commit to establishing an effective network of marine reserves that are fully protected from all potentially damaging activities and that encompasses at least 30 percent of Britain’s marine areas.

MCS in group of conservation organisations calling for 30% protection of British marine areas MCS is part of the newly formed Marine Reserves Coalition which has launched a manifesto calling on the British government to commit to establishing an effective network of marine reserves that are fully protected from all potentially damaging activities and that encompasses at least 30 percent of Britain’s marine areas. The manifesto includes areas within Britain’s Overseas Territories, such as the Chagos Marine Reserve in the Indian Ocean - the world’s largest - declared by Britain in April 2010, and Bermuda, whose government aims to create a marine reserve within its waters to protect the Sargasso Sea. The launch was part of the ‘Project Ocean’ event organised by Selfrdiges and was fronted by wildlife TV presenter and Patron of the Marine Conservation Society, Kate Humble. “Marine reserves work in the same way as our national parks and nature reserves work on land - protecting habitats and the wonderful array of animal and plant species that live in them. The difference is our seas support a vast amount more species than we have on land and yet we seem to value them so much less. I’ve dived in Marine Protected Areas, both off the Isle of Lundy in the UK and in various sites abroad and seen what huge benefits they have, not just to the marine environment, but to the people who rely on the sea for a living. A cohesive network of properly protected marine reserves is vital for the long-term health of our seas and for the future generations of people who will depend on them,” said Kate. Dr Fred Ming, Director of the Government of Bermuda’s Department for Environmental Protection, was also at the event. Just over a year ago, the Bermuda Government took on a leadership role in helping to establish the Sargasso Sea Alliance, an international public-private partnership whose purpose is to bring further protections to the Sargasso Sea. Dr Ming said: “The creation of a large marine reserve somewhere within our 200 mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) would be an important first step towards protection of the wider Sargasso Sea, and since Bermuda’s fishermen operate within the inner 60,000 sq. km band, that leaves us with lots of room to consider creating a reserve. This is potentially a very positive development for Bermuda’s long term future as well as the future of the Sargasso Sea.” Project Ocean is an initiative that challenges the public to imagine a world with “no more fish in the sea”. Running from 11 May - 12 June, the project is both a celebration of the oceans and a forum for conservationists to issue an urgent public wake-up call to address issues of sustainability, overfishing and marine protection. MCS has been instrumental in providing key information to many areas of Project Ocean.

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