UK’s George Monbiot wrote about the absurdity that is the UK’s marine reserve system in his column in the Guardian recently (HT to Helen). It is great to see George join a tiny but growing number of voices criticizing “MPAs” (AKA Marine Protected Areas) as a solution to overfishing and other ocean problems.
The UK’s marine reserves are nothing but paper parks
What do the terms “marine reserve” and “marine-protected area” conjure up for you? Places in which, perhaps, wildlife is protected? In which the damaging activities permitted in other parts of the sea – such as trawling and dredging – are banned? Wrong.
A marine-protected area in the United Kingdom is an area inside a line drawn on a map – and that’s about it. In most cases, the fishing industry can continue to rip up the seabed, overharvest the fish and shellfish, and cause all the other kinds of damage it is permitted to inflict in the rest of this country’s territorial waters. With three tiny exceptions, our marine reserves are nothing but paper parks.
The exceptions are the pockets of sea around Lundy Island in the Bristol Channel, Lamlash Bay on the Isle of Arran and Flamborough Head in Yorkshire. Together they occupy a grand total of 0.01% of British waters. These are the country’s only “no take zones”: places in which fishing and other extractive activities are banned. – read the rest here