UK Government Backtracks On Crucial Marine Conservation Zones

The Environment In Our Hands - A Quillcards Ecard
The Environment In Our Hands – A Quillcards Ecard

The Sorry Story

This is the sorry story of how the UK Government has backtracked on its promise to set up 127 Marine Conservation Zones around Britain’s shores, and about how you can help to stop this happening. The clock is ticking.

Let’s Take A Step Back: Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall And The Fish Fight

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall (see Wikipedia bio here) began his TV life as a chef. His particular angle was that he did it all at a rural hideaway at River Cottage, and that he got to grips with the food he cooked.

That is, as well as growing the vegetables that he cooked, he reared and slaughtered the chickens and the pigs that he put in the pot.

It’s tempting to think that that the seeds of his political development sprouted there. That is, that once he ‘got intimate’, as it were, with the food he was cooking, he would start to ask where everyone’s meat, eggs, and poultry came from.

In particular, from where did the supermarkets get their poultry, eggs, beef, pork, and fish?

From where did the families, the schools, the students, the aged, the growing youngsters, get their food?

It’s Not A Pretty Story

The story was not pretty. He found that caged animals and birds were often treated abysmally during their lives and that the produce itself was often not nutritious.

He never set out to change people to become vegetarians: But he did set out to get the producers and the supermarkets to do better.

With what result? Well he captured the public imagination. It was not difficult to do. All around, people were and are being asked and told to recycle, to save energy, to respect the planet and the environment.

Of course there were those who said that when they had a family to feed and Tesco was selling chicken at rock-bottom prices, it was no contest.

But Tesco was left in the dust. All of the other supermarkets responded to his call. Some said they had always been ‘green’.

Hugh complimented those who were doing well and pointed out where others could do better.

Stark Facts About Fish - A Quillcards Ecard
Stark Facts About Fish – A Quillcards Ecard

Not Enough Fish In The Sea

Then he turned his attention to the seas, and began a campaign to stop bycatch. Bycatch is all the fish that is caught up incidentally in the nets and lines put out by fishing vessels.

It is not wanted; it is caught along with the fish that are wanted.

It is hauled up on board, but because it does not fit within the regulations in place regarding the catch, it has to be thrown back overboard, dead.

Hugh has added his voice to the campaign to end the rules that dictate that bycatch must be thrown back, and he is winning.

How Marine Conservation Zones Figure In This Story

Now he wants to make sure there continue to be fish in the seas.

We have written before about the destruction of fish stocks in the seas around the world – and here is a quote from our earlier article:

We watched the film The End Of The Line, about overfishing in the world’s oceans.

This is a very well constructed film that show that 90% of the world’s fish have been taken from the sea – by trawlers with nets so large that thirteen transatlantic airliners could stand wingtip to wingtip in the mouth of just one of their nets.

We learned how fish are on the brink of not being able to regenerate fast enough to prevent complete extinction. Meanwhile, in the face of competing interests, governments worldwide are powerless to reach agreement on reducing catches by any meaningful amount.

Hugh’s Fish Fight

Hugh has travelled around the world to see for himself and publicise the truth about fishing.

Closer to home, he has put his weight behind a campaign to establish marine conservation zones around the UK.

Marine conservation zones act as safe havens for fish. Without them, there is a very real danger that fish stocks will dive below the tipping point and be unable to recover.

Today is the 1st March 2013, and there are 30 days left to tell the government – to tell the Prime Minister David Cameron and the Minister Richard Benyon – to deliver on their promise.

There are 30 days left to tell them that you want the 127 Marine Conservation Zones around the UK that they promised.

we want 127 fully protected marine conservation zones around the UK

Follow this link to Hugh’s website at Fish Fight and write to the UK Government.

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