The Wildlife Trusts has published a new report, The way back to Living Seas, that sets a vision for our marine environment post Brexit.
It identifies five challenges to be addressed before the UK leaves the European Union. The first responsibility of the Government is to ensure that we bring across existing European regulations which provide protective measures for our seas and sea-life – we need to safeguard existing protective law, as promised in the Withdrawal Bill. With that done, the following five challenges remain:
The Wildlife Trusts’ Director of Living Seas, Joan Edwards, says: “We are witnessing unprecedented pressures on UK seas and their fragile seagrass meadows, reefs and mud plains on which fish, dolphins and whales depend. Plastic is in the marine food-chain and is now affecting humans too. Seabird numbers are dropping due to lack of food. More dolphins are being caught in fishing nets than ever and sea bass stocks have declined by 50% in five years. The natural balance of our seas is at an all-time low and we need a brand-new strategy for the new era that we’re entering which tackles all these threats together – simultaneously.
“Our report shows why we need a new marine management system based on Regional Sea Plans which would allow a new spatial planning programme and achieve global goals for sustainable development. At the heart of this we also need a network of protected areas that represent the full range of marine habitats and species and are well distributed so that fragmented undersea places and wildlife can recover.”
The Wildlife Trusts believe that there is now an excellent opportunity to build on what has been achieved within Europe and to create a healthy, productive and biologically diverse sea for future generations. This is only possible if we grasp the possibilities and think about new ways of working at this unique moment in time.
Photograph: Painted gob-fish c. Cathy Lewis
Related categories: General