13 June 2019
The UK is home to some of the world’s most iconic marine wildlife and habitats. Yet, despite our Governments’ ambitions to achieve ‘clean, safe, healthy, productive and biologically diverse oceans’, they have failed 11 out of 15 tests for healthy seas. While welcome, the expanded ‘Blue Belt’ of marine protected areas will also result in little more than 'paper parks' without effective management and well-resourced enforcement.
Some UK seabird populations have halved in the last 40 years; Plastic pollution has been found in all marine mammal species surveyed in the UK, and one UK Orca population has failed to breed for 25 years due to chemical pollution.
With just a week left of the consultation on the UK Marine Strategy, UK Governments must grasp the severity of our ocean emergency and turn the tide for our seas. Delivering an ambitious UK Marine Strategy is the first step. To be world-leading this should shield our wildlife through: well-monitored and protected conservation areas; sustainable fishing and aquaculture; slashing ocean plastic, chemical and noise pollution; and a planning system which addresses interconnected land and sea issues, such as pollution.
Without a step-change in approach, we risk losing not only our iconic nature, but also the benefits of a healthy marine environment for people. The UK has repeatedly declared its intent to be a global leader on sustaining our oceans and seas. It has never been more pressing for the four nations to translate that bold ambition into practice.
Ali Hood, Director of Conservation, Shark Trust.
Andy Lester, Conservation Director, A Rocha UK
Chris Butler-Stroud, Chief Executive, Whale and Dolphin Conservation
Chris Wainwright, Deputy Chief Executive, Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Claire Bass, Executive Director, Humane Society International-UK
Dominic Jermey, Director General ZSL (Zoological Society of London)
David Bunt, CEO, Institute of Fisheries Management
David Cowdrey, Head of Policy and Campaigns, International Fund for Animal Welfare
Deborah Long, Chief Officer, Scottish Environment Link
Ellen MacMahon, Task Force Officer, Northern Ireland Marine Task Force
James Thornton, CEO, ClientEarth
Janina Gray, Head of Science and Environmental Policy, Salmon and Trout Conservation
John Sauven, Executive Director, GreenpeaceUK
Karen Whitfield, Joint Director, Wales Environment Link
Martin Spray, Chief Executive, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust
Martin Harper, Director of Global Conservation, RSPB
Mary Rice, Executive Director, Environmental Investigation Agency
Matt Shardlow, Chief Executive, Buglife
Michael Warhurst, Executive Director, CHEM Trust
Rebecca Hunter, Living Seas Manager, Ulster Wildlife
Sandy Luk, Chief Executive Officer, Marine Conservation Society
Sally Hamilton, Executive Director, ORCA
Simon Berrow, CEO, Irish Whale and Dolphin Group
Tanya Steele, Chief Executive, WWF
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