Marine Conservation Society welcomes new UK Marine Protected Areas but urges Government not to lose site of deadline for a wider network
Following the Government announcement on 20th August 2010 of the designation of fifteen new Marine Protected Areas around the UK coast, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) says it’s delighted at the move but believes further protection is still necessary if the seas are to be given a chance to fully recover after decades of mis-use and bad management.
The latest protected sites, including Land’s End and Cape Bank, Lyme Bay and Torbay as well as Lizard Point and Margate and Long Sands, have been selected on the best scientific evidence available and will mean protection to habitats like reefs, sea caves and sandbanks where marine life thrives.
MCS Senior Policy Officer, Melissa Moore says she welcomes the new designation: “These are an important step by the Government towards their commitment to produce a full network of Marine Protected Areas by 2012, a deadline that the UK must not let slip to 2016, as is being discussed by Ministers at the North-East Atlantic Environment Summit in Bergen next month.”
“ 2010 is the International Year of Biodiversity and an opportunity to firm up commitments to conserving our seas, not detract from them. Government must also ensure such sites have strong conservation objectives of recovery where damaging fishing and extractive industries are halted, otherwise they will just be ‘paper parks’. It has taken sixteen years since the EU Habitats & Species Directive came into force in 1994 to designate these sites, so let’s now make the wait worthwhile for marine wildlife.”
The Marine Conservation Society is running an online voting website to allow the public to have their say on where Marine Protected Areas should be. MCS has selected 73 sites around the UK coasts chosen to protect rare and threatened species and habitats from over 20 years of dive surveys by volunteer divers.
“We’re the only voice for the public in this process.” said Melissa Moore “We would urge them to visit our website www.yourseasyourvoice.comand vote either for or against our proposed sites or suggest areas they think should be protected. There is so much to lose if we don’t protect our seas.”