Almost 50 marine species living in Irish waters are under threat of extinction, a new report from the Irish Wildlife Trust (IWT) reveals. Released this week, the Protecting Our Ocean’s Wealth report indicates that 48 species of fish, crustaceans, shellfish and other invertebrate are under threat, as well as five types of seaweed. The report calls for the Government to bring legal protection for marine life in line with protections for land-based animals and plants under the Wildlife Act. The Act ensures special protections such as restrictions on hunting and legal protection of important habitats for many of our native animals such as deer, badgers, and pine martens. However, the Act excludes marine fish and invertebrates in its list for such protections and require approval from the Minister with responsibility for fisheries to appear on the list. According to the report, however, no marine species has been afforded such protections to date.   The report goes on to find that legal protection would promote the recovery of depleted populations or the designation of key areas for their conservation, especially where species are commercially exploited or the target of recreational angling.

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