Sunday, 22 June 2014

Protection of UK’s sealife ‘too slow and lacking ambition’

MPs’ report questions government’s commitment with less than a quarter of marine conservation zones created after four years

The Guardian, Saturday 21 June 2014
Conservation zones to protect the UK’s marine life are being created too slowly and lack ambition and commitment from the government, according to a committee of MPs.

Four years since the launch of the government project to create a national network of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) designed to protect sealife and give fish stocks space to recover, only 27 of the 127 sites recommended by experts and stakeholders in the government’s own consultation have been designated.

Marine Protected Areas, a new report from MPs on the environmental audit committee (EAC), examines the government’s progress to date and says that the pace at which the zones have been designated is “disappointing and suggests a lack of government commitment to this initiative”.

Chair of the committee, Joan Walley MP, said the government must stop trying to “water down” its pledge to protect the UK’s seas and “move much more quickly” to establish further protection zones and ensure they can be enforced.

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