Lecture 4: Marine conservation & enforcement

Marine Bill:
On November 12th 2009 the British government finally passed the UK Marine and Coastal Act, also known as the Marine Bill. This is a huge positive step forward in the field of British marine conservation and aims to mange the marine environment through establishing Marine Cnservation Zones, a marine planning system, inshore fisheries reform, establishment of Marine Management Organisation and coastal access provisions (MSC, 2009).

There is, as always, skeptisism as to whether or not the new Marine Bill will be effective in protecting British marine life. Some conservationists say that the Bill lacks detail in some areas which may result in important habitats and species being protected.

Here is the official draft of the British Marine Bill, pubished April 2008.

Some marine conservation terms explained:

Marine Protected Area (MPA), this is the generic term used when talking about SACs and SSSIs
Special Area of Conservation (SAC) is a designated area that can be either marine or terrestrial
Special Sites of Scientific Interest (SSSI) are only terrestrial habitats (down to intertidal habitats) and are maintained by Natural England. 17% of UK land area has been branded SSSI.

EU Habitats Directive and Natura 2000:

In 2002 the European Council identified the importance of safeguarding biodiversity and aimed to halt its decline by 2010, which led to the Natura 2000 network. Sites uder the banner Natura 2000 cover some 10% of the EU land area with the aim of protecting natural habitats and species of interest (European Commission, 2003). LIFE-Nature is a financial instrument that was introduced in 1992 to target the conservation of natural environments throughout Europe.

Laws of the Sea

1609 The Free Sea
1635 Closed Sea
1982 UN Convention of the Law of the Sea
1995 UN Straddling Stocks Agreement

"Quis custodiet ipsos custodies?"
Who guards the guardians?

Useful Publications

Natural Environment & Rural Communities Act, 2006
"Guidance for PAs on Implementing the Biodiversity Duty", Defra
"Rapid Worldwide Depletion of Predatory Fish Communities" Myers & Worm, 2003
The Conservation Status of Pelagic Sharks & Rays (IUCN)
EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive
Comments on the EU Marine Strategies Directive
IUCN Report Lowering Marine Turtle Bycatch
Principals for the Design of Marine Reserves (in relation to coral reefs)
Protecting the Last Great Tuna Stocks from Overfishing