Tony Lloyd demands ‘protect our oceans’

Rochdale MP, Tony Lloyd, is demanding stronger marine protection safeguards to protect the UK’s vulnerable ocean ecosystems.

Tony said, “The world’s coastal habitats – such as seagrasses, salt marshes and mangroves – capture and store carbon, and account for around 50% of the carbon stored in ocean sediments. When these are destroyed by large fishing vessels, these ecosystems emit the carbon they have stored for centuries into the atmosphere and oceans and become sources of greenhouse gases. They also leave our fishermen with nothing left to catch.

“Yet under the new Fisheries Act, the Government has the power to act urgently and decisively to ban the most destructive forms of industrial fishing from our waters once and for all.

“That’s why I’ve joined forces with English fishermen and fishing businesses, as well as campaign groups in demanding an urgent roundtable meeting with Government Ministers to immediately and permanently ban large fishing vessels such as supertrawlers, from the UK’s offshore Marine Protected Areas.

“If the Government is serious about its ambitions of ocean leadership, then they must take this crucial first step in delivering on this as well as unlocking the post-Brexit opportunities they promised to coastal fishers.”

Writing to the Environment Secretary, Tony joins forces with English fishermen and fishing businesses alongside campaign and pressure groups such as Greenpeace, the Blue Marine Foundation, and Oceana. In the letter, they are demanding the Government to “immediately and permanently ban supertrawlers (>100 m), bottom trawlers and fly-shooters from the 10 offshore Marine Protected Areas in the English Channel, and to immediately ban pelagic trawlers (> 55m) and fly-shooters from across the entire English Channel and Southern North Sea, on the grounds of the precautionary objective in the Fisheries Act, and subject to a full and thorough assessment of the environmental and local economic impacts of both fishing methods.”

They are also demanding “additional support for fishermen operating within the 6-12 nautical mile zone of the English Channel and Southern North Sea, in light of the threat posed by large scallopers and large beamers.”