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UCL Home  /  Geography  /  News & Events  /  News  /  News Archive  /  2016  /  December 2016  /  Marine Protected Areas Revisited

Marine Protected Areas Revisited

Peter Jones's evidence to Commons Environmental Audit Committee

Marine Protected Areas Revisited

Dr Peter Jones was invited by The Commons Environmental Audit Committee to join a panel providing evidence at its inquiry, Marine Protected Areas Revisited, on Wednesday 13 December.

The panel was asked to respond to specific questions about marine protected areas (MPAs) and related UK policies.

In his evidence Peter emphasised that a more holistic focus on the integrity of MPA ecosystems is needed, rather than the present, reductive, evidence-hungry, focus on specific features, such as particular species, and their vulnerability to specific activities. In particular, no-take zones, where fishing and all other extractive activity is banned, must be implemented for effective ecosystem protection and restoration, covering, at least to start, no less than 10% of the UK's sea area.

He also argued that effective protection must now begin to engage with the EC’s Common Fisheries Policy for all MPAs beyond 6 nautical miles. Otherwise Brexit paralysis could fatally stall these offshore MPA designations, which would remain no more than ineffective ‘paper parks’.

In general, Peter concluded that the UK government should present MPAs as opportunities that will yield benefits, not just as restrictions representing costs. The Inquiry is ongoing and will report to the House of Commons next year.


Peter providing evidence at the inquiry