Pamela Singleton is a veterinary surgeon and is on the Conservative Party's approved list of parliamentary candidates. She argues that the Marine Bill needs to designate 30% of UK waters as 'highly protected marine reserves'.
The Marine and Coastal Access Bill will have its second reading in the House of Commons next week, on 23rd June. The aims of the Bill are broadly to conserve fish stocks, regulate planning of the marine environment, and to create a walkable route round the English coast. (Scotland has its own Marine Bill.)
Having a marine bill is extremely important to everyone who enjoys traditional British fish and chips (most people I know), it is important to environmentalists, and it is important to those of us who simply enjoy spotting wildlife. Did you know that you can see Bottle Nosed Dolphins from the coast in Cardigan Bay, Wales? Standing on land you can go and watch the BNDs - as they are known locally. One of the world’s largest onshore Gannet colonies is on Bempton cliffs in Yorkshire. I have seen 10,000 puffins in the air at one time in Pembrokeshire, and the fierce Great Skua in Shetland.
The British coast provides a wildlife spectacle, but it is fast disappearing.
Many seabirds have failed to breed in recent years. The causes are multifactorial though include a lack of enough sand eels, food for many spectacular seabirds. Climate change is thought to be partly responsible for the depletion of this tiny fish, but overfishing of this vital part of the food chain has also contributed. Our seabird cities could become ghost towns.