ZSL – Response to marine bill
Tuesday 17 July 2007
ZSL is calling on DEFRA to strengthen the conservation imperatives in the new Marine Bill white paper.
The bill is designed to give better protection to marine life and help to effectively manage our seas. ZSL’s research strongly suggests that this step towards the sustainable management of UK waters is long overdue and we feel the bill should be treated as a priority for the Queen’s Speech so it can go before parliament in 2008.
But there are areas of the bill which ZSL feels need strengthening in order to ensure that conservation of our waters is given the high priority required. We urge DEFRA to reconsider some parts of the bill to ensure that conservation is given appropriate weight against social and economic factors.
ZSL’s Marine and Freshwater Conservation Programme Manager, Alison Shaw, explains: “The bill contains phrases throughout that undermine some otherwise strong statements, and this does not provide confidence that we will achieve the protection of marine wildlife and environmental resilience.
“We are also concerned about the frequent references to ‘[balancing] ecological, social and economic considerations’…these phrases paint a picture in which conservation takes place only where it does not impinge upon economic activity.”
ZSL welcomes the general vision of the Marine Bill and acknowledges the amount of work the UK government has put into its development. We look forward to seeing the bill reach parliament, but hope that it will be an even stronger proposal by the time it does.