David Levy – A “seat at the table” means nothing if your aspirations are near zero – Aug 14

Just because we do not have resources amounting into £ millions, like the other non-governmental organisations (NGOs), this does not impact on the quality of the work we do or research we undertake.

That’s not news to those who read our website, but it is restrictive when it comes to who is consulted over marine issues.

Certainly those NGOs who sought to sit round the table with Defra have sold the conservation lobby short. For example, I found it dispiriting during the committee stage involved in defining the EU’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), and other meetings defining the meaning of “Good Environmental Status” within the MSFD, that Marinet was ridiculed by these NGOs when we introduced our concerns along with their potential solutions.

NGOs said we were “aspirational”, with no hope of our solutions happening. They said this out loud in these meetings. Marinet was side-lined with no active support from any NGO during these formative meetings. Our only ally was from the scientific body, the New Economics Foundation.

Even our membership of Oceans 2012 was conditional. We were voted out of face-to-face decision-making meetings by the British NGOs, with the result that we only had limited input with equally limited access.

Marinet lead on activism, but was refused access when Oceans 2012 had meetings with Defra and with the EU and Maria Damanaki. We were basically used and abused.

This demonstrates the poor delivery of the groups (NGOs) that work together on the basis of the lowest common denominator.

Marinet has never aimed so low, and under my leadership never will — even if we remain locked out by those who should aim higher, and by the Government who repeatedly fails the environment and conservation goals.

Therefore, I believe the new Marinet will have to reach out to new contacts if we are to change history .


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