To mark the start of National Marine Week (Sat 30 Jul Sun 14 Aug), The Wildlife Trusts are launching the ‘Petition Fish’ campaign in a bid to demonstrate public support for Marine Protected Areas, before it is too late for our seas to recover.
How can I sign a scale?
Next year should see the UK’s first network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). To meet international obligations the Government must designate and establish an ecologically coherent network of MPAs around the UK by the end of 2012. According to The Wildlife Trusts, it is vital that we have enough of these areas, they are large enough and well protected. The Petition Fish campaign urges everyone to sign a scale online here or text ‘FISH’ with your name and postcode to 60777. You can also sign a Petition Fish at Dorset Wildlife Trust’sFine Foundation Marine Centre at Kimmeridge Bay.
Experience from around the world shows that Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), where damaging activities are restricted, can help fragile marine ecosystems and wildlife to recover - and with this fish stocks. Julie Hatcher, Marine Awareness Officer at Dorset Wildlife Trust, said: “Older Dorset residents remember seeing schools of harbour porpoise from Dorset’s cliffs and catching large angel shark and common skate, both of which are now critically endangered. We hope that by setting aside some areas of the sea purely for wildlife we will see a return to the marine environment our great-grandparents enjoyed. We need to act now before it is too late.”
Simon King OBE, President of The Wildlife Trusts, said: “Our seas are rich in surprising and alien species fearsome wolf fish, drifting manes of sea kelp studded with blue-rayed limpets which gleam sapphire, technicolour sea slugs in scarlets and pinks. National Marine Week is the perfect chance to discover this fascinating world with The Wildlife Trusts.
“Our marine life is facing so many threats, from destruction of habitat to overfishing. We must ensure there are safe havens below the waves, marine protected areas where populations of species can recover. By supporting Petition Fish you are playing your part in creating a network of MPAs, which could ultimately ensure the future health of our seas and sea life.
“We want members of the public to ‘sign a scale’ and remind the Government of its commitment to create a well managed network of MPAs by 2012. Unfortunately, heavy pressure is being applied by other interest groups who are opposing MPA designation. Public support is vital to persuade the Government to use its power and help the UK’s seas become some of the most productive and wildlife-rich on earth.”
How to get involved and show support
• Sign a scale online
• Text ‘FISH’ with your name and postcode to 60777
• Sign the Petition Fish at Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Fine Foundation Marine Centre at Kimmeridge Bay
• Join in with Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Marine Week events. More information here.
Did you know…
1. The UK's 11,073-miles of coastline is host to an amazing array of flora and fauna.
2. More than 40,000 species, around 50% of the UK's plants and animals, live in our seas.
3. Studland Bay, one of the potential Marine Conservation Zones in Dorset, is the only site in the UK where both species of British seahorse are known to breed.
4. Wherever you are in the UK, you're never more than 70-miles from the sea.
5. Just 2% of the UK’s sea area has even a minimal level of protection for wildlife.
6. Less than 0.001% is fully protected from all damaging activities (Lundy Island, Skomer, Lamlash Bay, Arran).
7. In 2009, the EU Commission declared that 88% of monitored marine fish stocks were over-exploited.
8. Almost one quarter of UK mammal species are marine.
9. Two species of whale and dolphin have become extinct in UK waters in the last 200 years.
10. Around 40% of the world’s grey seals are found in UK waters.
11. Almost two thirds of Northern gannets are found in UK waters.
Notes to Editor
For more information please contact Nicky Hoar at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01305 264620.
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About Dorset Wildlife Trust www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk
Working for a secure future for Dorset’s wildlife enriching the quality of life Dorset Wildlife Trust works to champion wildlife and natural places, to engage and inspire people and to promote sustainable living. Founded in 1961, DWT is now the largest voluntary nature conservation organisation in Dorset, with over 25,000 members and over 40 nature reserves. Most are open daily and there are visitor centres providing a wealth of wildlife information at Brooklands Farm, Lorton Meadows, Kingcombe Meadows and Brownsea Island Nature Reserves, The Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve and the Urban Wildlife Centre at Upton Heath Nature Reserve. DWT plays a key role in dealing with local environmental issues and leads the way in establishing the practices of sustainable development and engaging new audiences in conservation, particularly in the urban areas.
Read our Blog "Wildlife Matters"
The Wildlife Trusts (TWT) www.wildlifetrusts.org
There are 47 individual Wildlife Trusts covering the whole of the UK and the Isle of Man and Alderney. All are working for an environment rich in wildlife for everyone. We have more than 800,000 members including 150,000 members of our junior branch Wildlife Watch. Our vision is to create A Living Landscape and secure Living Seas. We manage around 2,300 nature reserves and every year we advise thousands of landowners and organisations on how to manage their land for wildlife. We also run marine conservation projects around the UK, collecting vital data on the state of our seas and celebrating our amazing marine wildlife. Every year we work with thousands of schools and our nature reserves and visitor centres receive millions of visitors. Each Wildlife Trust is working within its local communities to inspire people about the future of their area: their own Living Landscapes and Living Seas.