you know that less than 0.001% of our seas are fully protected
from damaging activities?
The stark truth is that only three tiny areas of the UK sea,
which together amount to about five square kilometres, are
completely protected from damaging activities like fishing,
construction, dredging or oil and gas extraction.
These precious patches of protected seabed are at:
Lundy Island in Devon,
Lamlash Bay off the Isle of Arran in the Clyde
South of Flamborough Head in East Yorkshire.
are the only places in the whole of our UK seas
where people can't take anything. Such places are often
as 'Highly Protected Marine Reserves' or even 'Highly
Protected Marine Conservation Zones', but that's all
a bit of a mouthful,
so we simply call them Marine Reserves.
Why do we need more of these reserves?
• Fish stocks have collapsed and valuable resources been depleted.
• The UK seas cover 3 times that of our land area but only one thousandth
of one per cent is highly protected.
• Over 70% of the UK’s commercial fish populations are seriously
over fished and face commercial extinction.
• The UK has a vast diversity of marine species many of which are being
irreparably damaged by human impacts.
• A recent report by the American Association for the Advancement of Science
into the state of the world’s oceans shows the North Sea is one
of the most seriously affected areas in the world.
• The World Parks Congress and the Royal Commission on Environmental
Pollution call for 30% of the UK seas to
be highly protected
The success of the campaigns for the UK and Scottish marine Bills means that
the creation of a network of Marine Protected Areas in UK seas is now possible.
There has never been a better time to safeguard our seas.
There are 148 other places in the seas around the UK with some form of protection,
and these are known as 'Marine Protected Areas'. Activities like fishing, dredging
and construction can be allowed in these areas and should be carefully managed
to make sure the seabed and the wonderful wildlife that depends on it is harmed
as little as possible. There are some questions about whether Marine Protected
Areas like this allow the sea to completely recover, which is why we think Marine
Reserves are so important.
Marine Reserves are unlike other methods of marine management because the whole
ecosystem is protected, from spawning fish to deep sea corals. Any extractive
use, such as oil drilling or fishing is prohibited as is any form of habitat
• The sites for Marine Reserves will be chosen to represent the full diversity
of Britain’s marine habitats.
• Marine Reserves take the pressure off the fish stocks targeted by commercial
fishing practices allowing these species to recover.
• There are significant economic benefits as fish populations spill over
into surrounding waters.
• Sites are simpler to establish and enforce than current fishery measures.
• Reserves allow truly natural areas to exist which are useful for mankind
to know what unimpaired nature is like.
• The amount of life in a reserve is typically 3 times that in similar
• Climate change will create a more turbulent and unforgiving environment
for marine organisms.
Removing the stresses of human pressures increases
the resilience and allows surrounding areas to be more quickly replenished.
The MCS has identified 73 possible sites for marine reserves around the
after six years of surveying work by divers. These would help protect
a spectacular array of sea life, from vibrant coral reefs, to rare seahorses,
basking sharks. We’re asking you to vote for which sites you want
to see protected, at the Your
Seas Your Voice website.
UK sets up Chagos Islands marine reserve
The UK government has created the world's largest marine reserve around the Chagos Islands.
The reserve would cover a 545,000-sq-km area around the Indian Ocean archipelago, regarded as one of the world's richest marine ecosystems. UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband said establishing the reserve would "double the global coverage of the world's oceans under protection". He commented: "Its creation is a major step forward for protecting the oceans, not just around BIOT [British Indian Ocean Territory] itself, but also throughout the world.