Marinet submission to Environmental Audit Committee: Are MCZs being effectively delivered?

Marinet has submitted evidence, October 2016, to the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee’s Inquiry into the delivery of MPAs (Marine Protected Areas).

Marinet’s evidence may be seen in full here. A summary of the evidence submitted is as follows:

  • The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 (MCCA) was poorly drafted by Government and is unable to deliver effective marine conservation via Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) in the UK. We do not accept that these deficiencies in drafting were unforeseen, and we therefore believe that in it’s fundamental purpose — fully effective marine conservation — it was designed to fail.
  • Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) require effective management which can deliver active protection. Unless this is the case, they are not effectively protected areas. The MCCA has fundamental flaws in terms of its ability to deliver effective management, and therefore needs reform by Government. This reform should seek to engage all interested parties working co-operatively within a defined management unit for each MPA, and establish an overarching national management body governing this individualised management structure.
  • The principle of co-location whereby licensed users of the sea seek, and are required by terms of their licence, to work in tandem with the conservation needs and objectives of the UK’s seas should be established as a fundamental principle of both licences and MPA management. Co-location is founded on the principle of co-operation, and seeks to have the three pillars of sustainability — social, economic and environmental — working co-operatively, rather than in opposition to each other which is frequently the case at present.
  • The term Blue Belt (used by the UK Government to describe its MPA programme) should be used advisedly. It suggests a marketing concept which, unless the reality behind it is grounded in real protection and management, is likely to mislead rather than inform.

 


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