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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: Chris Tuckett, Marine Conservation Society
Vice-chair: Alec Taylor, WWF-UK
Link: Cecily Spelling, Marine Policy and Campaigns Manager

Update from the Group

In November, the Group joined with colleagues in Environment Links UK and Greener UK, in London, to discuss the recovery of our oceans. The ocean plays a key role in regulating our climate and has already absorbed 20-30% of global CO2 production. If we’re to tackle the climate and ecological emergency it is therefore critical that are ocean is recovered to a healthy state. This workshop, hosted by Wildlife and Countryside Link, enabled discussion on how we make the case for ocean recovery, thinking about the growing support for climate action, and what is required to deliver this in the coming years. Conversations on how to progress this work are ongoing.

The final tranche of Marine Conservation Zones were designated in May 2019 so the Group’s efforts have turned to ensuring effective management of these sites. A sub-group are now developing joint positions on what a whole-site approach to management of Marine Protected Areas should look like as well as detailing what Highly Protected Marine Areas should deliver for the marine environment. Once finalised, the Group plan to share their work with stakeholders such as Defra and Natural England to ensure the marine environment is protected, and most importantly, restored.

The Marine Group has been working with colleagues across Environment Links UK (ELUK) to respond to the consultation on revisions to the UK Marine Strategy. The UK Governments’ report showed they had failed to achieve their collective promises to deliver healthy seas having only achieved 4 of 15 indicators. In response, the Group developed the “Seas Our Future” campaign, calling for a stronger, more ambitious UK Marine Strategy to turn the tide for our seas. To further their advocacy on the UK Marine Strategy over the summer, the Group developed a two page briefing outlining our priority actions to ensure our seas recover. The Government have now published their final strategy which despite our advocacy, lacks the ambitious targets needed to recover our seas. Therefore, the Group are refocusing their efforts on part two of the Strategy, expected in early 2020.

In July, the Group were invited to take part in a workshop with Defra and the Seabed User and Developer Group This workshop focused on the future of the marine environment, what was working and what needed to change to recover our seas. The Group advocated for our key asks for the Marine Strategy to be taken forward and well-resourced and are developing a briefing in line with this.

For further information, contact Cecily Spelling, Link’s Marine Policy and Campaigns Manager.

Last updated: 19 December 2019