Welcome call for action to protect marine wildlife

Posted on 11th April 2013

A report which today encourages setting a clear timetable for protection of the marine environment is warmly welcomed by The Wildlife Trusts.

The Commons Science and Technology Select Committee today publishes the results of its inquiry into marine science. This influential group of MPs warns that the Government’s failure to push forward with the designation of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) is creating uncertainty for sea users and risks putting important habitats at risk.

Joan Edwards, Head of Living Seas, confirmed the Committee’s report reflects the concerns of The Wildlife Trusts. She said: “We have voiced our concerns for some time that Government’s commitment to protecting the marine environment is failing. The need for Marine Conservation Zones is well known, yet the Government is still refusing to act with the urgency required.

The Committee’s Chair, Andrew Miller MP, said the Government must end the uncertainty and set out a clear timetable for the designation of the MCZ network.

The MP’s report said the Government had ‘moved the goalposts’ during the MCZ process and that it was unclear how they had chosen the 31 sites put forward for designation this year. The Committee also questioned why some sites identified as being ‘at risk’ were not being taken forward for protection.

Andrew Miller MP, said, “Properly managed Marine Conservation Zones will protect marine life in the UK’s coastal waters and ensure the fishing industry has a sustainable long- term future. The Government is currently letting the project flounder while sensitive environments are further degraded and the industry is subjected to further uncertainty.

Joan Edwards added: The Science and Technology Select Committee’s report is clear that the Government has no reason to delay the designation of the MCZ network. We have been calling – and shall continue to call – for a clear timetable for action. We hope this Committee’s report will encourage some renewed commitment to protecting our fragile seas.”

Contact information:

Anna Guthrie (Media & PR Manager)
Office: 01636 670075
Mobile: 07887 754659
Email: aguthrie@wildlifetrusts.org

Notes for editors:

The Wildlife Trusts (TWT) wildlifetrusts.org
There are 47 individual Wildlife Trusts covering the whole of the UK. All are working for an environment rich in wildlife for everyone. We have more than 800,000 members including 150,000 members of our junior branch Wildlife Watch. Our vision is to create A Living Landscape and secure Living Seas. We manage around 2,300 nature reserves and every year we advise thousands of landowners and organisations on how to manage their land for wildlife. We also run marine conservation projects around the UK, collecting vital data on the state of our seas and celebrating our amazing marine wildlife. Every year we work with thousands of schools and our nature reserves and visitor centres receive millions of visitors. Each Wildlife Trust is working within its local communities to inspire people about the future of their area: their own Living Landscapes and Living Seas.