Jo has supported calls for a Marine Bill in next week’s Queen’s Speech
Jo Swinson is supporting calls for a Marine Bill to be announced in next week’s Queen’s Speech.
A range of environmental groups including the Wildlife Trusts are pressing for the inclusion of the Bill, which was promised in Labour’s 2005 manifesto, to safeguard marine environments around Britain’s shores.
After attending an event organised by the Wildlife Trusts to promote the Marine Bill, Jo said:
“We have extraordinarily rich seas around the UK. They are home to more than 44,000 plants and animal species, from intricate corals and seahorses to seals and dolphins. Our seas also play a critical role in regulating our climate, which is being threatened by pollution, overfishing and other damaging activities.
“A Marine Bill is urgently needed to manage and protect our marine environment. Given the frequency with which I am contacted by local residents on environmental issues, I know that many others in East Dunbartonshire share my concerns.”
Michael Allen, chairman of The Wildlife Trusts, said:
“We have a unique patchwork of marine habitats around our coast with meadows of seagrass, forests of kelp, gardens of colourful sponges and corals, and moonscapes of sand and mud riddled with the burrows of millions of shellfish and worms. Not only does this report demonstrate the urgent need for a Marine Bill which includes effective legal measures to designate Marine Reserves but it also sets out how Marine Reserves might operate.
“We appreciate the cross party support we have received for a Bill and urge the Government to include the Bill in next month’s Queen’s Speech.”
The Wildlife Trusts have been collecting petition signatures on a ‘Petition Fish’ (pictured), which represents one of four charismatic or endangered UK fish (cod, triggerfish, wrasse and plaice). After the launch of Petition Fish in the House of Commons in June, MPs and individual Wildlife Trusts gathered signatures on scales all around the UK. The fish with signed scales returned to Westminster for the reception to demonstrate the support for the Marine Bill.
The Wildlife Trusts’ report Marine Reserves: TLC for our seas and sea life is available on at: www.wildlifetrusts.org