Call for new form of marine protection backed by Northumberland Wildlife Trust

Northumberland Wildlife Trust has backed calls for a new form of protection for the sea.

Sunday, 21st June 2020, 11:50 am
Updated Sunday, 21st June 2020, 11:51 am

It has joined 45 other wildlife trusts from across the UK in calling on the government for Highly Protected Marine Areas to be delivered within a year.

The Benyon review of Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs), published by Defra, recommends that HPMAs should be an essential part of the UK network for protection and recovery of the marine environment.

Duncan Hutt, Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s head of living landscapes and conservation, said: “Our seas are in an impoverished state and it’s hard for our generation to comprehend how abundant our waters once were.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Cresswell beach.

“Cod were once as long and wide as humans are tall, and whales, dolphins and basking sharks were many times more common than they are today.

“We need to let the sea show us what it’s capable of. This publication proposes a vital way of achieving marine recovery. We want to see real ambition from the Government with a commitment to HPMA delivery plan agreed before World Oceans Day in 2021.

“Existing Marine Protected Areas are limited in their ability to restore habitats and wildlife because their remit to protect nature only extends as far as maintaining the status quo. In these areas only some of the most damaging activities are prevented and even then, only in some locations.

Duncan concludes: “In Highly Protected Marine Areas, on the other hand, all damaging activities including fishing, dredging, construction and sea angling would be banned. This new type of designation means that nature could properly recover.

“HPMAs could be monitored to allow us to understand what a thriving seabed and restored marine life really means. They could set a bar against which other sorts of protected areas could be measured.”

Northumberland Wildlife Trust, which has nature reserves along Druridge Bay believes that HPMAs should be designated in each regional sea, in both inshore and offshore English waters, encompassing a range of habitats so that experts can study how recovery works in different ecosystems.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper.

Thank you