There have been many reports, reviews, inquiries and calls for HPMAs in UK waters. The latest in this long line was a review commissioned in 2019 by the then Environment Secretary, Michael Gove. Published on World Oceans Day, the review recommends the introduction of HPMAs as essential for marine protection and recovery, total protection for all species and habitats within their boundaries and identifying new pilot sites in English waters. Click here

Within their boundaries, HPMAs would only permit non-extractive activities such as vessel transit, scuba diving and kayaking. Activities that could affect habitats or wildlife, including fishing, construction and dredging would be banned. The Review by a panel of independent experts reports that introduction of HPMAs could lead to a significant biodiversity boost for our seas by giving our marine life the best chance to recover and thrive alongside potential social and economic benefits including increased tourism and recreational activities, opportunities for scientific research and education, and positive effects for human health. It also suggests that any potential fishing restriction could be counterbalanced by a stronger and biodiverse marine wildlife – with potential long-term benefits for the fishing industry from providing areas where sea life can develop and breed undisturbed. Click here to read the report

Read this alongside the results of a study by JNCC which found that over half of MPAs contain habitats vital for the nation’s future climate resilience because of their role in coastal protection and/or carbon sequestration. Click here


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