21 Jun 2009

Marine Bill: urgent action before 23rd and check your fish

Some will remember my interest in the Marine Bill (see for example here) well here's an appeal for an important environmental action that might make a real difference. It just needs a few minutes of your time before Tuesday 23rd June. Please have a look at http://www.marinereservesnow.org.uk/

Support the strengthening of the bill to include establishing a coherent network of marine reserves covering 30% or UK waters - and also email David Drew to attend the second reading of the bill this week and help strengthen it to include marine reserves and other measures detailed on the website.

Marine reserves have been shown to work at our only reserve near Lundy and all over the world. It only takes a few years to see massive increase in fish size and numbers and restoration of much of the marine natural habitat. The fishing industry can also benefit as larger fish spawn much more and fish, crabs and lobster all move out from the reserves into areas where fishing is permitted. They really do seem to be one of those rare examples of an achievable and relatively quick environmental fix.

From the campaign website: The oceans are losing their biodiversity at an accelerating rate. In UK waters there are 22 species of wildlife considered to be facing the threat of global extinction. Once common species such as Atlantic Cod and Halibut are on lists of threatened or endangered species and only eight of the 47 fish stocks found around the British Isles remain in a healthy state. Marine habitats and fish stocks continue to be damaged by destructive fishing techniques, e.g. it has been estimated that for every 1kg of North Sea Sole caught by beam trawl, up to 14kg of other seabed animals are killed.

Watch out also for the film, 'The End of the Line' - see trailer here - it is the first major feature documentary film revealing the impact of overfishing on our oceans and had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January. Filmed over two years, The End of the Line follows the investigative reporter Charles Clover as he confronts politicians and celebrity restaurateurs, who exhibit little regard for the damage they are doing to the oceans - as it says in the blurb this is a wake-up call to the world. Already M and S have banned unsustainable tuna as a result of the film.

The End of the Line also developed the widget below which allows you to check whether the fish you are planning to buy or eat is caught or farmed in a way that is sustainable.

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