Pressing Fisheries Minister for Sea Life Meeting
I asked Fisheries Minister Richard Benyon, in the House of Commons today, if he would meet with Yorkshire Wildlife Trust to discuss the pace at which the Government is moving towards designating Marine Conservation Zones to protect the UK’s sea life.
I visited Yorkshire Wildlife Trust last month to discuss their concerns that the Government’s proposals will not adequately protect marine wildlife, habitats and geology and that some of the UK’s most important marine wildlife sites could be missed altogether. I also showed my support for their Petition Fish campaign. Marine Protected Areas are essential to ensure the future of our seas and sea life.
In his response, the Minister said that he would be happy to meet with the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. My exchange with the Minister can be read here.
Now that we have a new law on protecting sea life, passed by Labour in 2009, it is essential the Coalition Government uses it to designate protected areas, just like nature reserves on land. They are wavering on this. The Government say they will consult on the recommended zones by the end of this year, with the first designations taking place in 2013 and others to follow, but is failing to meet the 2012 deadline. I am pleased the Minister has agreed to meet with Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and I have written to him to follow up on this.