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IoM's Leading Role In Marine Protection Highlighted

by Jason Gorringe,, London

28 February 2013

The Isle of Man Government has highlighted its leadership in the field of marine conservation following protests by thousands of environmental campaigners to urge greater responsibility from British authorities towards its maritime assets.

The mass rally, which took place on February 25, 2013, was organized by British TV presenter Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall to promote more sustainable fishing. The campaign is pushing for the creation of 127 Marine Conservation Zones in UK waters as just 0.001% of UK coastal waters are presently protected.

The Manx Government highlighted that the situation is in contrast to the Isle of Man where Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) have been in place since 1989, when Port Erin was first closed to dredge-fishing trawlers. Another five MPAs have been established since then as part of efforts to preserve the Island's marine environment.

This long-standing commitment to safeguarding the future of Manx coastal waters was highlighted in the first programme in the Fearnley-Whittingstall's Fish Fight series, which began in mid-February. The program's film crew visited the Isle of Man to examine the effects of scallop dredging and how marine-protected areas are helping the recovery of local waters. The show demonstrated the Isle of Man’s willingness to embrace scientific research, promote marine biodiversity and manage its fish stocks, in particular within the Manx trawl-caught queen scallop industry.

Phil Gawne MHK, Minister for the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture, said:

"While the current campaign in the UK is focused on the introduction of Marine Conservation Zones, this is something the Isle of Man has been actively pursuing for more than two decades. Government, fishermen and processors have been working together to ensure the Isle of Man retains a strong maritime and fishing industry while protecting our marine heritage. We are leading the way in many respects, but are certainly not complacent as there is more work to be done in the years ahead."

TAGS: Isle of Man | environment | marine

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