Review of Highly Protected Marine Areas
On World Oceans Day Environment Secretary Michael Gove announced a new review to protect England’s precious marine environment which will examine how Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) could be introduced. Highly Protected Marine Areas are the strongest protections for areas of sea and would stop all human activity with the potential to cause harm to vulnerable areas.
Targeted HMPAs would complement an existing network of Marine Conservation Zones and allow vulnerable marine wildlife to fully recover, free from all damaging human activities, with the aim of restoring areas to a pristine state. This would mark the most significant expansion of England’s ‘Blue Belt’ of protected areas to date, as well supporting the government’s international efforts in calling for 30% of the world’s oceans to be protected by 2030.
Led by Richard Benyon MP, the review will be asked to establish an evidence-based process and criteria for selecting Highly Protected Marine Areas. On completion, if the evidence supports, Benyon will recommend potential locations for pilot sites. The views of those who use the seas will be at the heart of the review, which over six months, will consider the economic and social impacts on businesses and individuals who use the sea.
The review will take into account the views of fishers, conservation groups, marine industries, and local communities and will run from June 2019 and be completed by the end of 2019.
MP Richard Benyon said: “Our ocean is precious resource, valuable not just for its marine diversity but also for the many livelihoods it supports on our coastline.
While many areas have strong protections in place, there is a need to consider whether and where we can go further to safeguard marine life, balancing the needs of fishing, conservation and local communities”
More information can be found here – https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/highly-protected-marine-areas-hpmas-review-2019