On the 13th of December, the UK government promised to designate 31 new sites as marine conservation zones. This sounds like great news for ocean ecosystems and the industries that depend upon them. In fact it is anything but.
The government’s own scientific advisors actually said that 127 conservation zones are needed. 59 of the proposed sites are under severe threat, with action required immediately.
The argument for this very weak approach to ocean conservation is to help industry, in particular fisheries. The problem with this argument is, of course, if you don’t conserve ocean ecosystems properly, there won’t be any fisheries. Rejecting expert advice in this manner is bad news for ocean wildlife, fish stocks and the economy.
Tell the UK government to stop basing crucial policies on exceedingly short-term economic and political gains and start listening to marine scientists.
We the undersigned ask that you revise your marine conservation zone plans. Protecting ocean ecosystems is crucial, not least for the fishing industry, and the plans as they stand are nowhere near enough. Protecting 31 areas by the end of 2013 might seem like a step in the right direction, but not when it involves the rejected of the other 96 advised. The current plans are completely insufficient to protect our country’s ocean wildlife and fish stocks.
We stand with the Marine Conservation Society in urging you to ensure protection from dredging and bottom fishing is in place for the 59 most vulnerable sites by the end of 2013 and for all 127 by the end of 2014. This is the bare minimum.
It is not worth sacrificing our oceans for extremely short-term economic or political gains. Please give this matter your immediate attention.