David Levy – What is the point? – Sep 15

Marinet has nailed its colours to the mast repeatedly.

We are clearly advocating change to existing practices within the marine environment. Whether it be fish stock protection, aggregate dredging, or new ways of conserving virgin habitats. The list is as complex as the website we share with you.

I often think, what is the point?

Government has found a modern way of defusing NGOs and concerned conservationists. It’s called public consultation, and has been accepted as a way forward for change by those whose budgets are reliant on this process.

However Marinet has been frozen out of any semblance of a round table debate.

Change is given instead by government in small measures, late and often to those bodies who can deliver the public in numbers. The RSPB, WWF, Greenpeace and MCS are such bodies. Recent MCZMCZ Marine Conservation Zone s have been delivered in association with the Habitats Directive so as to conserve estuary mud flats for bird feeding grounds. This means the RSPB can promote the process.

However the Habitats Directive should have delivered these changes over a decade ago, which demonstrates to us the “drag feet” approach of DEFRA.

So it is with no pleasure that Marinet holds all involved to account because the urgency of deterioration demands we keep the pressure on.

Despite spin from DEFRA and accompanying agencies, decisions about exploitation are made on inadequate data and by those who want business as usual. This reality has no sound science, no precautionary principle, nor any sound prognosis for stock recovery, habitat protection and true marine management. Therefore, it is not an improving picture overall.

I come back to my original question. What is the point?

Maybe those who read this blog can help answer this — and also make comment about the direction in which Marinet should continue to challenge, or whether to change tack.

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