Ocean News

Could it be? A UK Marine Bill?

21st December 2008

This month, after years of campaigning, it was announced in a speech by the Queen that the British government shall soon implement a Marine and Coastal Access Bill.

Extensive over-exploitation of marine stocks has resulted in dramatic declines of UK fish populations, in particular bluefin tuna, cod, haddock and mackerel, which in turn may cause unpredictable cascade effects through the marine ecosystem.

Although it has taken considerably longer to pique political attention than many would like, the Marine Bill is a welcome stride towards establishing sustainable use of the UK’s marine resources.

Core to this new initiative is the formation of a Marine Management Organisation, which through centralisation of expertise and resources aims to better coordinate information and implement management decisions.

This bill should also see the expansion of marine research within the UK, which will provide the information needed by those making management decisions to ensure their efforts are effective in maintaining the marine environment as a stable resource for generations to come.

Under the new bill the UK coastline will become as accessible to the public as possible, promoting recreational use and allowing people to experience its natural beauty first hand. However, precautions will have to be taken to make sure fragile habitats, such as estuaries, remain sufficiently undisturbed.

More detailed information on the new Marine and Coastal Access Bill can be found on the DEFRA website.

The Save Our Seas Foundation supports a number of projects within the UK, including the educational Cool Seas Roadshow, a national lobster hatchery, and pioneering work on the movements of our very own gentle giant, the basking shark.