Sunset at Dunraven Bay Wales Helen Hotson

Urgent action needed from the new Welsh Government

2 minute read

Following a hard-fought election that took place against the backdrop of the current climate and nature emergencies, we now know who will be responsible for Wales’ seas for the next five years.

We’d like to congratulate Welsh Labour on winning half of the seats in the Senedd and matching their best-ever result in the election.

We were especially glad to see commitments towards abolishing more items of commonly littered single-use plastic featured throughout Labour’s election campaign. Restoring key blue carbon habitats such as seagrass and saltmarshes is also mentioned within their manifesto. With the important role of blue carbon in the fight against climate change becoming increasingly recognised, ensuring that protecting these habitats is on the political agenda is vital.

We’d also like to extend our congratulations to the representatives from the Welsh Conservatives, Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Liberal Democrats who complete the new Senedd.

Looking to the future

We worked closely with the previous Welsh Government to develop Wales’ first National Marine Plan and to offer our consistent expertise on the sustainable management of our seas. We have also helped to identify suitable areas for much-needed nationally important Marine Conservation Zones. We are now very much looking forward to working with the new Welsh Parliament to secure the ocean recovery that is desperately needed to save one of our most valuable natural assets.

The creation of the Welsh Government's climate change ministry is particularly exciting and we’d like to congratulate both Julie James MS and her deputy, Lee Waters MS, on their appointments.

View over Rhossili Bay Wales David King Photography

Credit: David King Photography via Shutterstock

What needs to be done?

Wales’ seas are home to a plethora of fascinating landscapes such as undersea cliffs, exposed offshore reefs, calm sheltered inlets and dangerous tidal rapids. These create an extraordinary range of habitats, supporting a breath-taking variety of wildlife, including one of only two resident populations of bottlenose dolphins in the UK. Because of this, it is of little surprise that half of Welsh seas are under some form of national or international protection. As it stands however, our seas are struggling enormously with the problems caused by plastic pollution, fishing pressure, poorly planned development, unregulated activities and climate change, to name a few.

Our seas are struggling enormously with the problems caused by plastic pollution, fishing pressure, poorly planned development, unregulated activities and climate change

There is an urgent need to up the pace at which we protect and restore our marine environment. What we achieve over the next five years will determine the future of Welsh seas and those that rely on them. If we are to turn the tide on the current situation our seas are facing, a truly cooperative approach between stakeholders and those elected to represent us will be imperative. The task ahead is a great one, but by working together we can ensure that Wales’ seas will be full of life and potential for generations to come.

To find out what we are asking of the new Welsh Government, read our bold Ocean Manifesto.