The way back to Living Seas

Wednesday 25th October 2017

Looking out over the Thames Estuary from the top of the Thurrock Thameside Nature Park's Visitor Centre

New report urges Government to tackle five challenges to the marine environment simultaneously

The Wildlife Trusts have published a new report, setting a vision for our marine environment post Brexit. The first responsibility of the Government is to ensure that we bring across existing European regulations which provide protective measures for our seas and sea-life – we need to safeguard existing protective law, as promised in the Withdrawal Bill. With that done, the following five challenges remain:

  • There are not enough protected wild places at sea [and along the coast] – the network needs to protect the whole range of wildlife in our seas.
  • Fishing – after the significant reform of the Common Fisheries Policy we have begun to see some of our fish stocks recover. We need to make sure that this process is continued which will benefit jobs, consumers and wildlife.
  • Lack of planning of competing interests – we need to plan our seas so that we have space for wildlife to recover and to provide certainty to industry as to where they can develop and fish. 
  • Severe pollution – sewage, farming chemicals, plastic litter washed out to sea, abandoned fishing nets and noise pollution from new developments at sea are killing wildlife and adversely affecting human health.
  • Human behaviour – our success in tackling these threats ultimately rests on people’s understanding and accepting the need for change.

Thurrock Thameside Nature Park, which provides a successful wintering ground for thousands of waders and wetland birds including Avocets, is within the newly proposed Thames Estuary Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ), due to its importance as a nursery ground for fish species such as smelt and the presence of rare species like the short-snouted seahorse.

Through working with key stakeholders, organisations and with the wonderful help of our volunteers, we are working towards tackling these challenges and reaching the goals of a biodiverse coast and marine environment in Essex.

The new report by The Wildlife Trusts, The way back to Living Seas, was published Wednesday 25th October, and will be presented to the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Dr Thérèse Coffey MP, at a marine round table being held on board Research Vessel Cefas Endeavour on the Thames in London. A pdf can be downloaded here.

Short-snouted seahorse by Paul NaylorCommon Seals at Hamford Water NNR by Emily McParlandNative Oyster at West Mersea