Rochdale MP, Tony Lloyd, is calling on the Government for stronger marine protection safeguards to protect the UK’s vulnerable ocean ecosystems.
Tony Lloyd said, “The world’s coastal habitats – such as seagrasses, salt marshes and mangroves – capture and store carbon, and account for around 50% of the carbon stored in ocean sediments.
“When these are destroyed, such as by large fishing vessels, these ecosystems emit the carbon they have stored for centuries into the atmosphere and oceans and become sources of greenhouse gases.
“Marine Protected Areas play a significant part in preventing this from happening and are a useful tool to safeguard our ocean and make it more resilient to change and has significant benefits in restoring fish populations in local waters, which can benefit coastal fishing communities.
“The Government has said it will champion protecting 30% of global oceans by 2030, but allowing supertrawlers to fish inside our most sensitive marine ecological areas undermines this vision and puts our habitats at great risk.”
Writing to the Environment Secretary, Tony Lloyd and a cross-party section of MPs and campaigners wrote, “Using the Government’s renewed powers outside of the Common Fisheries Policy, we urge you to ban destructive industrial fishing vessels like supertrawlers from fishing in the UK’s Marine Protected Areas.
“A ban would prove that this Government is serious about marine protection, and pave the way for a network of fully or highly protected Marine Protected Areas off-limits to all destructive industrial activities, covering at least 30% of the UK’s waters by 2030.
“The Government must seize this historic opportunity to increase the health of our oceans, and support the communities that depend on them.”