If you eat fish then read this!

Our seas are under immense pressure: too many fish are being taken out, too much rubbish is being thrown in and too little is being done to protect our precious marine wildlife and vital fish stocks. We are losing biodiversity at a rate never witnessed before at huge cost to ourselves. If our oceans are to cope with what the future we need to act now. We are all connected to the sea in ways we may not realise, and the health of our seas is key to a rich and productive future.

Marine Conservation Society

Please send this letter to 1 or both of the addresses listed below. Parts in italics need amending. 

Your Name
Address line 1
Address line 2
Address line 3
Address line 4 

Jonathan Shaw, MP
Minister for Marine, Landscape and Rural Affairs
Defra
Nobel House
17 Smith Square
London
SW1P 3JR

10th July 2012

Dear Mr Shaw,

UK Marine & Coastal Access Act 2009

In November 2009 the Marine and Coastal Access Act was passed and was said to be in full operation by the end of 2012. However the government has announced delay in the implementation of this Act. Your reticence is killing and destroying marine life as we know it.

If overexploitation of the seas continues there will come a time when there are no fish left to fish for. The fishing industry will collapse and the rate of unemployment will once again rise. You can’t generate a stock of fish from nothing, but you can when you have something to work with, which there is at present but not in the foreseeable future. In authorising the 127 Marine Conservation Zones (MCZ) within the United Kingdom, you will allow the fish population time to breed so it can actually self-sustain. The longer you delay the harder it will be to overcome the damage to the marine habitat, fish population and economy.

The survival of the United Kingdom’s marine environment is in your hands. Buying MCS certified fish produce certainly helps the situation, however if our sees are continually over fished then this will not be enough.

Permitting MCZs is in the best interest for you, the fishing industry and consumers. This is because the authorisation of MCZs is an investment for all of the above. It is an investment that will allow marine wildlife to restore itself which will create a secure economy for the future and thus generate more money than at present.

There are ways to develop sustainability while keeping industries afloat. This involves using fishing methods that cause minimal to no damage to the ocean and have the lowest risk of bycatch. Using electrified ticklers on beam trawls rather than chain ticklers, since chain ticklers have a huge bycatch rate, and needlessly kill non-target species which are imperative for the marine ecosystem to stay alive. The same applies to trawling and dredging and pelagic long-lining. This has been known since the 14th Century so is it not rather primitive that such methods are still in common use? More up-to-date methods are bottom long-lining, handlining, trolling, pots and traps, drift nets with ‘pingers’, farmed mussels and dive-caught seafood (shellfish, lobster).

Efficient economy is vital and growth is essential for economy. Therefore my proposition is: Authorise the 127 proposed MCZs and enforce the use of sustainable fishing methods. This allows marine wildlife to grow as you cannot reap what you have not sown, and this will ensure a maintainable future. This makes certain our escape from the annihilation of the fishing industry.

I am not advocating the idea that fishing should stop. Rather I am promoting the idea that current fishing methods are changed. This way the fishing industry will survive and thrive.

I am not some vegan hippy that has got on their high horse about this rather I am a fish eating British citizen with an occupation unrelated to the fishing industry; that cares for the environment and its future.

Yours Sincerely,

Your Name

Defra’s Marine Biodiversity team
Zone 1/05,
Temple Quay House,
2 The Square,
Temple Quay,
Bristol
BS1 6EB

Jonathan Shaw, MP
Minister for Marine, Landscape and Rural Affairs
Defra
Nobel House
17 Smith Square
London
SW1P 3JR

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