The Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) and Natural England welcomed the launch today (23 February, 2010) of the Fishing Coalition for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). This new alliance represents much of the UK fishing industry and will provide a vital point of contact for Government and nature conservation organisations as they work with the industry in developing the growing network of MPAs. With the government required by European law to introduce a network of MPAs by the end of 2012, streamlined, efficient communication between all parties is essential – the MPA Coalition marks a big step forward in helping achieve this.
John Goold, JNCC’s Marine Director said: “This is an extremely active time for marine conservation with many important and far reaching decisions to be taken over the next few years. We welcome the establishment of the MPA Coalition, which will provide a unified voice from the fishing industry across the UK, and we look forward to close collaboration across all of our offshore MPA work. MPAs should allow society to reap the benefits from our seas while at the same time protecting them for future generations. We want to ensure that our approach is fully inclusive and it is vital to include the views of people that value and make a living from the sea.”
James Marsden, Natural England’s Director Marine, said: “Natural England welcomes the creation of the MPA Coalition and we look forward to working together to discuss how the MPA network can achieve better marine protection alongside a more vibrant fishing industry in England’s inshore waters. We understand the concerns of the fishing industry and it is vital that there is always clarity, transparency and trust between us. Ongoing dialogue with the MPA Coalition will be an important way in which we can achieve this.”