Thank you for contacting me about the world’s oceans.
Oceans are currently facing unprecedented challenges, including climate
change and over-fishing. It is more important than ever to take action to
ensure our seas are healthy, abundant and resilient.
I am encouraged that the UK is on course to protect over half of its waters
and I join Greenpeace in calling for the UK and other countries to work
together towards a new global commitment for a UN high seas treaty. This
would pave the way to protect at least 30 per cent of the world's ocean by
I am pleased that 41 new Marine Conservation Zones have recently been
created. The UK now has 355 Marine Protected Areas of different types,
spanning 220,000 square km. No new activities deemed damaging will be
allowed to take place in these areas and existing harmful activities will
be minimised or stopped to allow important habitats to recover. A review
has now been launched into whether and how Highly Protected Marine Areas,
the strongest form of marine protection, could be introduced in English
I am also pleased that the UK is on track to protect 4 million square
kilometres of ocean across our Overseas Territories by 2020, and is backing
an Ascension Island bid to protect 100 per cent of its offshore waters.
The Government is working hard to reduce plastic pollution in the ocean and
is leading global efforts to tackle the problem through support of the G7
Oceans Plastics Charter, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastics
Economy and the Commonwealth Blue Charter. In April 2018, the UK launched
the Commonwealth Clean Ocean Alliance alongside Vanuatu, encouraging its 25
member countries to take steps to eliminate avoidable single-use plastics.
Finally, the forthcoming International Ocean Strategy will set out plans to
work with international partners to secure a sustainable, prosperous and
secure ocean future.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me
Sally-Ann Hart MP