Marine environmental campaigners called on the government this morning to introduce 127 marine conservation zones at a rally outside the Houses of Parliament.
Despite a bitterly cold morning in central London around 2,000 people, led by celebrity chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, marched across Westminster Bridge as part of the Fish Fight campaign which is putting pressure on the Government to protect England’s marine environment by introducing marine conservation zones that will restrict the most damaging activities and help protect the underwater habitats and species around the coast of England.
The march was supported by the Marine Conservation Society, the British Sub Aqua Club and sea Life – along with a strong presence from – other environmental organisations such as Greenpeace.
Defra is currently consulting publically on the introduction of only 31 of the original 127 recommended sites put forward last year; A move which enraged environmentalists and frustrated those groups who had put years of work into the four regional projects that came up with the recommended sites.
The fish Fight campaign, which attracted unprecedented public support last year with over 800,000 people supporting an end to the practice of discarding, is encouraging supporters to email the Government demanding that all 127 MCZs are introduced now.
So far over 10,000 Fish Fight supporters have emailed Defra but Fearnley-Whittingstall hopes the final number could eventually exceed 30,000 which would almost double the highest number of responses Defra have ever received from a public consultation.
Despite opposition from many parts of the commercial fishing sector Mr Fearnley-whittingstall wants fishermen to realise the long term benefits of protecting the marine environment and seabed – 90 per cent of which is currently unprotected around the coast of the UK.
To support the campaign visit www.fishfight.net