Friday, 13 July 2007

Lifeline for marine wildlife?

The future of the UK’s marine wildlife hangs in the balance as Gordon Brown made a half-hearted commitment to introducing a draft marine bill in his legislative programme, according to the RSPB.

Reacting to Gordon Brown’s statement, Martin Harper, head of the RSPB’s sustainable development department, said: “Increasing protection for marine wildlife has been an outstanding commitment for this government over the last decade. We are disappointed, therefore, that the Prime Minister remains to be fully convinced of this need.”

The UK’s coastline is home to 18 exclusively marine species of seabird, including Puffin, Gannet, Kittiwake and Guillemot. The Great Skua, Manx Shearwater, Gannet and Shag have their most important populations in the world in the UK.

The RSPB will continue to campaign for a Marine Bill to be introduced in the 2007/2008 parliamentary session that includes: designated marine conservation zones; a new system for planning at sea; improved licensing of activities at sea; and sustainable in-shore fishing management. MPs are being asked to pledge their support for a Marine Bill by signing a new cross-party Early Day Motion (1833).

Photo: Puffin by Chris Harbard