David Levy – Marinet’s success and failure in 2015 – Nov 15

With another year nearly over, I have to spend a moment looking back over the year that was 2015 to review what progress Marinet has to be pleased about, and to reflect on what was wasted effort.

I start, of course, with my blogs. Were they of any practical use and did they engage in any positive way?

In this age where people spend an inordinate amount of time twittering and face-booking what appears to be mountains of drivel, my blogs have little impact in terms of dialogue. The ‘however’ is that I know, from some incidents, that they are watched and have an effect.

These blogs have always been meant as a doorway to engagement. Opinion, which is open to counter discussion or even support.

I believe the reason why this has failed to function in the way I perceived is due to the nature and strength of our ‘conservation objectives’. In truth, many state they have conservation goals, but the reality of their existence is different and that is why they do not engage.

This is the reason why we have written to all the CEOs, the strategists, inviting them to a meeting designed to discuss whether there is a way that all NGOs can work collaboratively on key conservation goals. You would think that this should have been a prime goal of us all, yet there are few examples of working together. These letters have gone out, and we await the replies.

Marinet wants to work closely with as many other people with like-minds to change the appalling deterioration in the marine situation. Spin would have you believe the situation is better than a few years ago, and in some instances there has been progress. Yet not enough to be confident that a corner has been turned because the attitude of those who regulate marine industries is still focused on maximum exploitation without laying aside areas for conservation and virgin habitats.

Politicians are equally spineless with the inability to plan a future based on sustainable management. Richard Benyon, the Fisheries Minister who implemented the 2009 Marine Act and in whom a great deal of faith was placed to deliver this, was consigned to the graveyard of ex-Ministers who left the job without achieving their personal goals.

This tells me and reinforces our knowledge that the bureaucrats control the rate of change, and the direction this takes. So we, the public, have to acknowledge that even if we regain our fisheries under new terms with Europe our waters will remain on the same downward trajectory.

Our extensive website is well worth a read and demonstrates the integrity of our engagement with the issues which, for our organisational size, is impressive. We maintain interest in those pieces of research which inform us of the global state of the oceans seas and waters. This informs our targets for action and is the reason why we are networked into community action around the world.

Congratulations on Southern California achieving a marine reserve south of Monterey, the location of the BBC’s Big Blue Live broadcast earlier this year, with its incredible diversity of life coming in from the Pacific Ocean.

That Great Britain’s waters host even more biodiversitybiodiversity Biological diversity in an environment as indicated by numbers of different species of plants and animals. is testament to our failure to really protect something so valuable. In our territorial seas we have unique currents and influences combining with outstanding habitats and species that are dredged, bottom trawled and exploited without proper assessments being made of the short/long term implications on the indigenous populations.

So in reviewing 2015 I have to accept, as the Chair of Marinet, successes have been few and far apart. This brings with it a responsibility to engage with my accountability with you all for 2016. What can I do differently without abandoning our principles?

Now I will see whether this will be read with engagement in mind.

David Levy,

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