National Marine Week highlights needs for HPMAs

National Marine Week highlights needs for HPMAs
Surveying the shore
Image courtesy of Toby Roxburgh / 2020VISION

The Wildlife Trusts’ National Marine Week, currently running until 9th August, offers a full fortnight for people to take advantage of the tides and explore a programme of events including online webinars, virtual tours of the shore and some socially distanced seashore events.

“As a part of National Marine Week this year, not only do we want people to explore marine life near them, but we want everyone to take action and stand up for the highest levels of protection for our seas,” says Joan Edwards, director of marine conservation at The Wildlife Trusts.

The Wildlife Trusts believe Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) offer a ‘gold standard’ of marine protection and are calling on the Government to commit to an ambitious HPMA delivery plan within a year. MIN previously reported details of the Benyon Review.

This new type of marine designation would ban all damaging activities and only allow low levels of other non-harmful activities in designated areas.

Removal of harmful pressures would allow important habitats and wildlife to flourish, says the organisation, and recover to as natural a condition as possible. People can support the endeavour via The Wildlife Trusts’ website.

Many events have been curtailed but this National Marine Week’s activities include downloading a Shore Life Spotter Guide to explore some of the native, common and invasive species that live between the low and high tide lines along our coast. People are encouraged to record and submit their findings to The Wildlife Trusts. These data will help scientists to monitor the health of shore life across the UK.

“Our shorelines offer a tantalising glimpse of the incredible underwater world surrounding our island home,” says Liz Bonnin, science and natural history broadcaster. “By taking part in the Wildlife Trusts’ National Marine Week challenge, you’ll not only be immersing yourself in the wonders of our coasts, you’ll also be playing your part in bringing our seas back to life and helping to support a greater understanding of our spectacular marine creatures.”

Other activities are on offer, details are online.

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