Waves at Teignmouth
© Natasha Ewins / MCS

Marine unProtected Areas: What happens next?

Date posted: 19 January 2021

A couple of weeks ago we released our new report, Marine unProtected Areas. We spent a year looking at what’s happening in our waters and found that almost all of England’s Marine Protected Areas - which were created specifically to safeguard offshore seabed habitats - are being bottom trawled.

Curled octopus (Eledone cirrhosa) amongst a horse mussel bed (Modiolus modiolus) Shetland, Scotland, UK
© SCOTLAND: The Big Picture

Without a ban on this form of fishing, these areas of our seas simply aren’t recovering and we’re missing a crucial opportunity to combat climate change and ensure there are, indeed, plenty more fish in the sea.

Dr Jean-Luc Solandt,
Principal Specialist in Marine Protected Areas

Dragging heavy nets along the ocean floor in Marine Protected Areas is equivalent to ploughing through a national park on land, but it’s only banned in a tiny percentage of our protected seas.

It’s important that carbon currently stored in the UK’s offshore seabed remains there. The Dogger Bank Marine Protected Area, off the east coast of Yorkshire, has the capacity to store the most carbon of all UK Marine Protected Areas – equivalent to 31,000 return trips from London to Sydney!

Now the report has been released, we want to see action to recover the seabed.

Today, we’re asking for your support: to tweet your local Member of Parliament and help us raise awareness of the importance of our seabed.

Find your representative on They Work for You then head to Twitter, copy and paste the tweet below and add their handle. Or if it’s easier just retweet our tweet and video from the @mcsuk account.

England’s Marine Protected Areas aren’t truly protected until bottom trawling the seabed in them is banned! It’s time to support our seas and #SaveOurMPAs. [INSERT MP TWITTER HANDLE HERE] Will you be a voice for the ocean?

What do we want Westminster to do?

Westminster asks - MuPA Report

Parliamentarians can find more information in the briefing and show their support by sharing this on social media.

Actions you can take