Great support for Highly Protected Marine Areas

01/11/2019 0 By wildfeed

Underwater scene
© Joost van Uffele/Shutterstock

Date posted: 1 November 2019

The call for evidence on Highly Protected Marine Areas has now closed. Thanks so much to those who supported our call for ‘gold standard’ protections for our seas.

Octopus on temperate reef
© Mark William Kirkland/Shutterstock

The marine environment is degrading. It is still amazing and inspiring and special, but the condition of many marine habitats is not good enough.

Sue Burton,
Marine Biologist

In June, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) launched an independent review into how the strongest form of protection – Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) – can work in English and offshore Northern Irish waters. As part of the 6 month review, led by ex-fisheries Minister Richard Benyon MP, communities, industry and stakeholders were invited to comment on introducing tougher measures to help stop the impacts of human activity from damaging the marine environment.

The Marine Conservation Society, which has a long history of campaigning for effective marine protection, issued a comprehensive response to the call for evidence, in which we recognised that HPMAs have an essential part to play in our marine protected area network.

Highly Protected Marine Areas are ‘gold standard’ zones that offer the best protection for vulnerable parts of our ocean – banning damaging activities that for decades have decimated wildlife and habitats.

We’d like to thank the 5,150 people that backed our campaign and supported our views on the benefits provided by the designation and proper management of Highly Protected Marine Areas. Together we sent a clear message to Defra, that the extra protections would:

  • provide marine areas a chance to return to as natural a state as possible
  • provide a reliable measure of what recovery could look like if all damaging human activities were removed
  • act as no take zones, allowing commercially fished species to recover and for these benefits to spill outside of the protected area
  • better protect sensitive and/ or ecologically important species and habitats
  • look after our seas as part of our duty as stewards of the natural environment
  • better prevent or lessen the effects of climate change, by protecting habitats that can capture carbon or protect species that are vulnerable to a warming ocean
  • preserve and increase opportunities for nature-based tourism
  • support or improve opportunities for cultural, spiritual, educational and/or recreational activities

We will continue our dialogue with ministers and decision-makers, to share with them the support that we have received for our campaign and will keep our supporters up-to-date on developments as they happen.

Once again, many thanks for your support.

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