A number of constituents have written about the proposal for an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary in the Weddell Sea. Here are my views:
I agree that the Government must ensure the UK advocates strongly for the establishment of a Marine Protected Area in the Weddell Sea. Such a protected area would help safeguard one of the last pristine regions in Antarctica and ensure the conservation of vital ecosystems settled in these waters and the surrounding coast.
While I am pleased to see that the UK has backed the proposal, I am nonetheless disappointed that the Government has not been engaging more pro-actively with the other 24 member states and using the full extent of its diplomatic tools to persuade countries that have not yet publicly backed the proposal.
As you may be aware, only around 3.9% of the world's oceans are designated for protection, despite a global commitment to achieve 10% by 2020. As such, it is ever more crucial that the UK continues to lead the world in marine conservation and that we do all we can to ensure the protection and sustainability of our oceans.
I have long supported measures to protect our marine environment and to protect and enhance the marine environment of the UK and our overseas territories.