Britannia Protects the Waves: £7 million extra funding to protect UK marine life

27 Aug 2019 01:24 PM

UK commits to extend its Blue Belt scheme as the Prime Minister tells world leaders: act now before it’s too late.

Millions of square kilometres of ocean around the world will be cleaner and more sustainable thanks to the UK’s commitment to extend its Blue Belt scheme, announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the G7 yesterday.

The additional £7 million will mean our world-leading protection of Marine Protected Areas can continue and expand, supporting the protection of key species such as turtles, whales, fish, seabirds and wider marine life.

Addressing world leaders at the G7 the Prime Minister said the next year would be vital for the future of our planet, and called for the Aichi targets to be replaced with new, more ambitious ones at the Biodiversity COP in China next year.

Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, yesterday said:

The UK is the first major economy to legislate for net zero CO2 emissions and we are leading the way on protecting the world’s ocean for future generations.

As we leave the EU and become an independent coastal nation, the UK will continue to show global leadership on issues of common interest.

Charles Clover, Executive Director at Blue Marine Foundation, yesterday said:

These Blue Belt sites are like the rain forests of the ocean - where rare sharks, turtles, corals and large fish are still abundant.

We are therefore delighted to hear that, in addition to fully implementing and continuing to fund the Blue Belt commitments made in 2016, the Prime Minister has committed to offering this world leading programme to the other UK Overseas Territories.

Jonathan Hall, Head of UK Overseas Territories at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, yesterday said:

We’re delighted that new funding will be made available to complete the world-leading Blue Belt programme and offer it to other Territories which wish to participate.

This can mean more much-needed protection for rare turtles and globally important seabirds, fragile coral reefs and mysterious deep-sea habitats, and will benefit the many Territory communities which depend so heavily on a healthy marine environment.

It comes the same week as the Ascension Island Council has committed to making their waters an Atlantic ‘Galapagos’ by designating all 445,000 km2 of their waters a large-scale Marine Protected Area. This will support the protection of key species such as green turtles, endemic fish species, important seabirds and marine life.

This Government will also continue to build on the Spring Statement commitment to ensure on-going support to Territories within the Blue Belt programme to have relevant protection, monitoring and enforcement strategies in place

The extension of the Blue Belt scheme follows a series of UK Government initiatives on ocean management, such as Maritime 2050, the Clean Maritime Plan and wider 25 year Environment Plan.


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