Protect our oceans, urges Pendle MP

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson has joined the Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, in calling for 30% of world’s oceans to be protected by 2030.

Less than 10% of the world’s seas are currently designated as Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) – one of the most important ways to protect precious sea life and habitats from damaging activity. However, to coincide with countries gathering in New York to discuss protection for our oceans at the United Nations General Assembly, the UK is backing calls to triple the internationally-agreed targets for protected areas.

The current global target for MPAs is to protect 10% of oceans by 2020 but formal negotiations on a new global target are due to begin in November.

This will build on the UK’s global leadership in protecting the marine environment – with over 200,000 square miles of Britain’s coastline already protected and recent proposals for 41 new Marine Conservation Zones marking the most significant expansion of the ‘Blue Belt’ to date.

Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson said, “Over a third of England’s waters are already Marine Protected Areas with plans to go further but we need to do more than set a good example by leading the global push to protect our oceans. I welcome the UK Government’s call for global action and hope to see progress secured on more ambitious targets soon.”

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “Protection of our oceans is a global challenge which requires global action. The UK has already safeguarded vast swathes of precious marine habitats, but we must go further. Only by working together can we protect our shared home and ensure our marine life continues to be a source of awe and wonder for future generations.”

Foreign Office Minister Sir Alan Duncan said: “The UK and our Overseas Territories are working together to establish a Blue Belt of marine protection for over four million square kilometres of British waters by 2020, protecting and sustainably managing our oceans for future generations.

“It is imperative that we act now to save our ocean from unsustainable activities and protect its unique ecosystems which we still know so little about. This 30% global target to improve ocean management and protection is both ambitious and achievable and we encourage our international partners to take action now.”