Farne Islands © Mark Thomas
Our Seas Need Your Help!
Help us to remind our Governments of the importance of protecting our seas and the need for a network of Marine Protected Areas.
Imagine being able to see the world’s largest mammal, the blue whale, in UK seas. Imagine seas full of cod over a metre and a half long, and seemingly limitless shoals of herring and pilchards. Imagine landing a bluefin tuna, weighing more than 800lbs, on UK shores.
These were our seas as little as a century ago, home to remarkable megafauna and huge populations of fish. Our seas were once some of the most productive on Earth.
But their resources are not inexhaustible. The ability of our seas to cope with the pressures we put on them – damage from fishing, industrial pollution and the impacts of a changing climate – is limited.
We need your help to ensure that a network of Marine Protected Areas is created and well managed in 2012.
Much of our marine wildlife is in decline. Two species of whale and dolphin have gone extinct in UK waters in the last 400 years and basking shark numbers have declined by 95%. Commercial species are also under pressure; in 2009, the EU Commission declared that 88% of marine fish stocks were overexploited.
It is shocking to think that despite these declines, less than 0.001% of our seas are fully protected from damaging activities. If they are to recover and thrive; if they are to continue to provide us with the resources we depend on, we need to do better. Our seas do still have the potential to recover but only if we protect our marine habitats and species properly and manage this natural resource sustainably.
A vital part of the solution is to create a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) - areas that offer protection not just to our most rare and vulnerable species but to the full range of species and habitats found in our seas. These areas will protect marine life within their boundaries and with careful management they can have an influence beyond, as burgeoning populations spill out into the surrounding sea. A well designed and effectively managed network of MPAs will help boost the health of the marine environment as a whole, helping it to recover from past impacts and sustain current pressures.
We need to put pressure on the UK, Scottish, Northern Irish and Welsh Governments to create well managed network of Marine Protect Areas and give the UK’s marine wildlife the protection it so urgently needs. We need to demonstrate the importance of healthy and well protected seas – that can continue to support the demands we place on them.
Help us to stand up for our sea life. Please sign our petition or sign our Petition Fish at Wildlife Trust events this year. Ask your friends, family and everyone you know to do the same. Next year we’ll take your signatures to Government – and show parliamentary and assembly members your support for our seas.