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Because pink sea fans are so vulnerable to damage and slow-growing, they are supposed to be protected. But this rare coral found off the coast near Plymouth, England is being buried in silt.
Dredged from Devonport docks in River Tamar, the silt is being dumped in Whitsand Bay - where parts of the reef are already completely submerged.
Since the 1980s over five million tonnes have been deposited at Whitsand, and now the Ministry of Defence wants licence to continue its dumping for yet another two years, adding over 300 thousand more tonnes to the bay!
Although the MoD says the dredging is essential to clear channels for warships at the docks, environmental groups argue that Lyme Bay has been protected from dredged silt - so why not Whitsand Bay? They’ve written the Marine Management Organisation (MMO), which grants dumping licences, asking for an explanation.
But a BBC report says the MMO is demanding evidence that Whitsand’s sea fans are at risk, while refusing to consider further investigation into the matter.
Tell UK’s Marine Management Organisation to protect Whitsand Bay’s pink sea fans from dredging.
We, the undersigned, say UK's Ministry of Defense and Marine Management Organisation can find a way around destroying Whitsands's rare sea-fan coral.
Even if the dredging for warships is essential, as the MoD claims, it cannot be more important than protecting this rare, and slow-growing threatened species, which is considered “of principal importance for the purpose of conservation of biodiversity under the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006.”
As environmental groups are asking, if the Lyme Bay can be protected from dredging, then why shouldn't Whitsand Bay dumping stop as well.
This most exotic of England’s seabed animals is already extremely vulnerable to damage from beam trawling, scallop dredging, and boat anchoring, without the added risk of being overwhelmed by dredging silt.
We ask that the MMO take the initiative to investigate this situation rather than requiring environmentalists to prove the sea coral is at risk. By the time these groups are able to afford to provide this proof, it could be too late, as reports reveal some parts of the coral are already buried in silt.
Please take immediate, decisive and effective action to protect this threatened species.
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