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The Marine Working Group works to ensure better protection of marine wildlife and effective management of our seas by seeking the full implementation of the Marine and Coastal Access Act (MCAA) 2009. The Group also addresses the implementation of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) and marine spatial planning, and monitors the reform of the Common Fisheries Policy.

Chair: Joan Edwards, The Wildlife Trusts
Vice-chair: Alec Taylor, WWF-UK
Marine Policy and Campaigns Manager: James Luetchford, Link

Marine Charter parliamentary drop-in event

Photo: Dr Mathew Offord MP with former Vice-chair Mel Moore (MCS).

In December 2016, Link’s Marine Working Group held a parliamentary drop-in event for the Marine Charter. MPs and Peers were invited to show their support for marine protection by joining their many cross-party colleagues in signing the Marine Charter. Marine experts from our membership discussed with them the importance of the Marine Charter and why Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) are vital to the future of our seas. The event was attended by 17 Parliamentarians representing different parties and constituencies across the UK, and the Charter now has over 140 signatures from the last Parliament.

Update from the Group

The Marine Working Group continues to work towards seeking the development of a UK ecologically coherent network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) by 2020, on which it submitted evidence to the Environmental Audit Committee at the end of last year. The Group has also been active in helping to shape regional Marine Plans by responding to a key consultation on the draft South Marine Plan. In March the Group completed an MMO survey on the first round of development plans for the NE, NW, SE and SW of England.

The Group is contributing to the Legal Strategy Group andEnvironment Links UK work on preparing for the Great Repeal Bill, to ensure that as many EU laws as possible become or remain in UK law.

One of the Group’s primary tasks is looking at ways to protect and enhance the provisions of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) as it enters its second review cycle. Members of the Group will be meeting with Defra towards the end of June to discuss how these will develop, and the Group is currently planning a two-day workshop in the Autumn to develop some Link proposals to take to consultation early next year.

The Group also recently contributed to a comprehensive and widely supported Environment Links UK and Microbeads Coalition response to a Defra consultation on proposals to ban the use of plastic microbeads in cosmetics and personal care products. The Group has more recently submitted evidence to an Environmental Audit Committee inquiry on effective disposal of plastic bottles and coffee cups. In addition, in June it will be holding a Link workshop on the coordinated management of Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) for harbour porpoises, with a particular focus on the harmful impacts of noise on these small cetaceans.

For further information, contact James Luetchford, Link’s Marine Policy and Campaigns Manager.

Last updated: 31 May 2017.

Useful links

Link's Marine Charter

23 new Marine Conservation Zones designated in 2016 - is this enough?

Link's Marine Vision