The ocean is vital for life on earth as we know it yet our seas are suffering from climate change, ineffective marine protections, over fishing and toxic pollution. In order to tackle the climate and nature crises and restore our seas for the future Link is calling on the Government to deliver a transformational ocean recovery agenda that protects people, nature and our climate.
At home and around the world, our oceans are in trouble. Only 25% of our waters are classified as protected and, of those, only 10% include a full set of management measures to limit damaging activities. Thousands of dolphins, whales, seabirds and other protected species die every year in UK fishing nets and plastic production is expected to quadruple by 2050, bringing death by entanglement and ingestion and the more insidious threat of microplastics. UK Governments have a target to achieve healthy seas by 2020, but our waters failed to meet 11 out of 15 indicators for good sea health in 2019.
With climate change lapping at our shores, we can and must do better. A recent report suggested our oceans could be restored by 2050 with global effort and ambitious action. The UK is leading that global effort, setting a bold agenda for international ocean action that includes developing a global alliance to protect 30% of our oceans by 2030.
If we're to stand up on the global stage though we must first put our own house in order. No protected species should be drowning in our waters, no protected areas should be at risk of damage from unsustainable fishing and no marine wildlife should suffer at the hands of plastic or chemical pollution.
That's why Link is calling for a transformational ocean recovery agenda to recover our domestic waters.
In 2020 Link's Marine Group outlined a vision for restoring our seas, underpinned by secondary briefings (see below). The Group also held an 'Ocean Dreaming' photo competition to highlight the importance of healthy seas to people's lives.
At the start of 2021 the Government declared this to be a “Marine Super Year” and pledged that the UK would use its presidency of COP26 to lead calls for renewed action to restore the marine environment to health. The Marine Group has published a 'Marine Scorecard' to outline the vital measures needed to deliver on this vision. The Group will be ranking the extent of the Government’s progress on ocean recovery according to these criteria at the end of the year, and will be using this to hold them to account where action has not met their ambition.
Membership of Wildlife and Countryside Link is open to national and international voluntary or other non-profit organisations based in England. Member organisations must be able to demonstrate an interest in furthering the work of Link, and their aims must include the protection of wildlife, landscape and the quiet enjoyment and appreciation of the countryside. Individual members of the public are not eligible to join Link, but may be interested in joining one of Link's member organisations.