Plymouth Sound and surrounding marine protected areas should become the country’s first National Marine Park if a plan by Labour’s candidate in Plymouth Sutton and Devonport is adopted by Ministers.
- National Marine Park would be the first of its kind in the UK
- Labour candidate calls for city to aim high and add to its existing world class credentials
- The UK’s first National Marine Park would be about managing space robustly and would not impede on naval or fishing activities
Plymouth Sound already has designations of Special Areas of Conservation (SAC), Marine Conservation Zones (MCZ) and Sites of Community Interests (SCI). Creating the UK’s first ever National Marine Park in the Sound would help put Plymouth on the map for environmental protection and sustainably managing our coastal waters.
Plymouth has a proud and diverse marine presence: Plymouth has a number of centres of excellence, with world leading scientists in the Marine Biological Association, Plymouth Marine Laboratory and Plymouth University. The Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science (SAHFOS) and other specialist centres are also based in Plymouth. Our city is the home of the National Marine Aquarium and supports huge numbers of jobs in research and marine protection. Plymouth has a historic and strong naval presence that Luke will defend from Tory cuts. Our fishing port is the largest in England by tonnage landed. Sutton Harbour is home to diverse fishing fleet and is a vital hub for the rest of the South West. Millbay docks is home to cross channel ferries, with proposals for a new cruise terminal being discussed.
As well as providing a rich fishing grounds for charter vessels, our waters also boast a variety of leisure activities from diving, sailing, swimming and kayaking. With this amount of expertise and stakeholder knowledge, Luke argues this makes Plymouth the perfect place to make a National Marine Park a real success.
“I’m proud to be from Plymouth and I know just how beautiful the Sound and waters beyond the breakwater are. Rich in diversity from crabs to corals, lobsters to eel grass, mackerel and dolphins the sea life is simply amazing. We must do more to manage activities, the habitat and species. On land we are used to the idea of plans providing a blue-print for success and protection of our green spaces. National parks on land have development, extraction and farming, in the right places, at the right scale, we must look at our marine environment in the same way.”
“The proposals to create the nation’s first National Marine Park would help to sustainably manage our coastal waters, protecting habitats while still allowing tourism, commercial and military activities.
“Similar to the number of different zones on Dartmoor, from national park protected areas, to military exercise zones, having a marine national park off our coast is about managing the space in a robust and sustainable way. It is about mapping the seabed and habitat fully, bench marking, monitoring and finding out what works best.
I have a vision of Plymouth as a city that isn’t shy about promoting itself and selling our expertise. We are a proud maritime city - we are Britain’s Ocean City after all - and it seems fitting that the UK’s first National Marine Park is designated here. If elected on 8 June I’ll make campaigning for this one of my early priorities.”