What are Marine Protected Areas?
Areas of sea set up to look after particular seascapes, habitats and species, just like nature reserves and national parks on land.
Why do we need Marine Protected Areas?
Healthy seas are vitally important to all of us. So it’s crucial that communities and government are committed to using all the proven tools available to keep them healthy and full of life. Marine Protected Areas are one of the tools governments can use to safeguard our ocean and make it more resilient to change.
The network of Marine Protected Areas around the UK is designed to protect the really important places that are home to rare or threatened plants and animals. It also protects an array of habitats essential to the wellbeing of both people and wildlife. Our protected area network is all about protecting the seabed as the foundation of vibrant and productive undersea and coastal communities.
All our work on Marine Protected Areas is focused on supporting the establishment of protected areas that work as a tool to effectively protect marine ecosystems. Experts suggest we should be aiming for at least 30% of UK waters being effectively managed to protect key species, habitats and ecosystems. Doing this in a joined-up way will help provide what people need and deserve from a healthy ocean.
Our new report Marine unProtected Areas found that bottom trawling is taking place in a worrying 98% of the UK’s offshore Marine Protected Areas designed to protect the seabed. As a result of the report, and the yearlong research which informed it, we’re calling for a ban on bottom trawling in these protected areas.
What sort of benefits will our Marine Protected Area network provide?
All our work around MPAs is focussed on supporting establishment of MPAs that work as a tool to effectively protect marine ecosystems. Experts suggest we should be aiming for at least 30% of UK waters being effectively managed to protect key species, habitats and ecosystems. Doing this in a joined-up way will help provide what people need and deserve from a healthy ocean.
What sort of benefits will our MPA network provide?
A joined-up network of well-managed areas around the UK will safeguard marine communities that provide important benefits to the planet and to all of us. We believe it’s really important to reflect on the many benefits that these places provide. These include:
People across the world have spoken up about their concern for climate change in a recent UN Global Climate Poll and the loudest voices have come from young people.
Supporting a global MPA network
Our work to support effective protection beyond UK waters
To the shelf limits, Scotland has 61% of UK waters, of which 23% are now in existing or new ‘marine protected areas’
Over half a million people have voiced their support for ‘marine protected area’ designation in the UK through our campaigns
Over 170 parliamentarians from across the political spectrum signed up to our Marine Charter calling for a network of ‘marine protected areas’ in UK Seas