A rich diversity of wildlife lives off Lincolnshire’s 50 miles of sandy coast. But this wildlife and the habitats of the seabed have woefully little protection.
After years of campaigning, the Marine and Coastal Access Act offered hope for the future for more than 40,000 species that live in the UK’s seas. It brought in legislation and a commitment from Government to create an ecologically coherent network of marine protected areas.
Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust Chief Executive, Paul Learoyd, said: "The passing of the Act on 12 November 2009 was just the beginning; our job is to ensure the network is established with wildlife at the heart, protecting not only the rare and threatened but a range of marine species and habitats."
One year on… what has the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust achieved?
- In January 2010, we launched our vision for Living Seas outlining The Wildlife Trusts’ recommendations for how the Act should be implemented to secure a healthy future for marine wildlife.
- Throughout the year, we have worked closely with Net Gain (the project that will establish protected areas in the North Sea) and other stakeholders including fishermen and industry to achieve effective implementation.
- We have taken families and school children sea dipping and searching for mermaid’s purses and other wildlife at Gibraltar Point National Nature Reserve, and taken our 3-d Living Seas display to events such as the Lincolnshire Show, ensuring people know about the wildlife that lives hidden from view beneath the waves.
- In August, we celebrated the designation as a “Special Area of Conservation” of 350 square miles of Lincolnshire seabed at the entrance to The Wash known as Inner Dowsing, North Ridge and Race Banks. This is a welcome first step but we still have a long way to go to establish an ecologically coherent network of Marine Protected Areas.
The network of Marine Protected Areas needs to protect a full range of marine habitats and species, and should be in place by 2012. It is vital for life in our seas as well as for everyone who works, lives near or enjoys our coasts and seas on holiday.
Today, The Wildlife Trusts are calling on Government to make a statement demonstrating it is still committed to establishing a network of Marine Protected Areas.