UK needs more marine conservation areas like Lyme Bay to save fragile aquaculture
Wednesday, 17 April 2013
South West Liberal Democrat MEP Sir Graham Watson has this week used a speech in the European Parliament to call for the EU to designate more marine conservation areas to protect the UK’s fragile aquaculture.
Speaking on Monday evening in Strasbourg, Sir Graham said that only 0.001% of the sea area around the UK is highly protected or closed to fishing, with the coral-rich Lyme Bay in East Devon and Dorset (see map above left) one of the few protected sea sites in the UK. He then referred to research conducted by Plymouth University that has shown sub-sea aquaculture is beginning to recover there as a result.
“Thousands of my constituents have contacted me calling for reform of the common fisheries policy. When I ask them what further steps they want, 99% say more marine conservation zones around our coasts,” he said. “A number of Europe’s marine areas are protected through sites of Community importance to protect specific species and sub-sea geology. One such area is Lyme Bay in my constituency. But early findings from research in these areas, including by the excellent Marine Institute of Plymouth University, indicate that sub-sea aquaculture is beginning to recover.”
“We need a partnership between fishermen, scientists and conservationists to do this, and if we add it to the opportunity for investment in renewable generation, we can do much to protect our aquaculture.”
Hailing from the truly beautiful South West region of the UK, Andrew now works in Brussels and is a UK passport holder, European citizen, and a twice employee at the European Parliament.
While the EU in its current form is far from perfect, he is nonetheless firmly of the belief that the UK's prosperity and place in the world is best served as a member state and not as an isolated bystander.
Since October 2009, this blog seeks to document the work that our region's MEPs do for us in Brussels. As such, predictably, it rarely features UKIP.