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The Marine Group seeks to restore and protect England's marine wildlife and habitats by seeking improvements to marine policy.

Chair: Kirsten Carter, RSPB, Vice-Chair: Bernadette Butfield, RSPB

Link: Cassie Rist, Senior Policy Officer

Update from the Group

The ocean plays a key role in regulating our climate and has already absorbed 20-30% of global CO2 production. If we’re to tackle the climate and ecological emergency it is critical that our ocean is recovered to a healthy state.

The group has consistently called on the Government to enact the policies necessary for a comprehensive marine recovery agenda. They are calling on the Government to deliver stronger protections across the Marine Protected Area network, with bottom trawling bans needed in all offshore MPAs protected for the seabed. They responded to a consultation run by the Marine Management Organisation, making the case for more ambitious protections for marine life against damaging fishing across the whole of MPA sites.

The group have also been campaigning for the delivery of new 'Highly Protected Marine Areas', where all extractive activities are prohibited, and regularly meet with Defra to discuss the Government's progress on this policy. They have also responded to the HPMA pilot site consultation. The group have produced a report on the policies needed to protect and restore 'blue carbon', setting out how ocean protections can help tackle the climate crisis.

The Group continue to work with sister Links in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on ocean recovery and consultations for the UK Marine Strategy. They have coordinated a UK-wide response to the UK Marine Strategy part 3: Programme of Measures consultation, which sets out the measures the UK Government hopes will achieve Good Environmental Status in our seas. 

The group are currently working on Marine Spatial Planning, developing proposals for how marine planning can effectively reflect the climate and nature crises.

For further information, contact Cassie Rist, Link's Marine Lead: 

Last updated: January 2024 

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