Humankind depends on the oceans.
The ocean produces more than half of the oxygen we breathe, and is a powerful force against climate change, absorbing half of all carbon dioxide we produce. Worldwide, more than 1 billion people rely on fish and seafood as their main source of protein, whilst 200 million people depend on fishing for their livelihoods. In the context of an ever-growing global population, protecting the ocean has never been more vital.
We have a duty to protect the oceans from irreparable harm - and the UK government is in a unique position to do so.With its 14 overseas territories, the UK is responsible for the fifth largest areas of ocean in the world, measuring 6.8 million square km, over twice the size of India and nearly 30 times the size of the UK itself.
And it’s worth protecting - the UK’s territories host the clearest water ever recorded, more penguins than any other nation, and breeding grounds for globally endangered turtles. These waters represent possibly the most diverse marine portfolio on earth – supporting a high number of rare and threatened species.
In its election manifesto, the UK government promised to give protected status to a larger area of the ocean than any other country in the world. If acted upon, this would amount to a huge step forward for marine environmental protection.
We need to make sure that the UK lives up to its promise and does the right thing for all of us, whether we live above or below the water.
We are calling on the UK government to swiftly to implement marine protected areas around all of the UK’s Overseas Territories and to publish clear timelines and deadlines by which all these protected areas will be in place.
Declaring a marine reserve isn’t as simple as it sounds. The process of doing so takes time, negotiation and careful planning for continuous monitoring of the protected area.
If pressure isn’t kept on the UK, there’s a real danger this crucial issue will fall to the bottom of its to do list. We can’t let this happen. Sign the petition now!