National parks are important to 90% of people in the UK but, despite being an island nation with an extraordinary 30,000 kilometres of coastline, we have no national parks in the sea.
The UK is home to some of the richest coastal waters on the planet. The biodiversity in our waters is protected by a long and confusing list of designations, but the nation at large remains completely disconnected from the sea. BLUE has discovered an opportunity for marine parks to effectively involve people in the stewardship of our coastal waters, bringing a wealth of benefits to deprived coastal communities. BLUE has a vision for a marine park network by 2030, succeeding where so many attempts at marine conservation in this country have historically failed.
In June 2018, BLUE invited 130 people to discuss the future of marine parks in the UK. The day ended with unanimous consensus that national marine parks as a concept could be used to better protect coastal waters while bringing shared prosperity, broader public engagement and regeneration of deprived coastal communities. The conference agreed that Plymouth should declare a marine park. On 14 September 2019, 70 years after our first national parks on land, the city of Plymouth came together to declare Plymouth Sound National Marine Park.
Plymouth will now enter a two-year development phase, running from January 2020, in which citywide stakeholders will help to frame what the marine park will become. BLUE has played a key role in the process to date, helping to shape the declaration, the identity of the park and the engagement of the local population with the concept through our “Sea in the park” initiative delivered with the Marine Biological Association. BLUE has also developed the SAFEGEAR initiative, fitting AIS beacons to fishing gear to eliminate ghost gear within the marine park.
UN Patron of the Oceans
"It is my hope that, in the future, people will look back at Plymouth as the ocean innovator that set the standard- for national marine parks in Britain and across the globe”
By working together, we can turn the tide on overfishing and the destruction of biodiversity. By supporting BLUE, you can help to create marine reserves around the world.