It is now widely understood that a large number of the UK’s marine protected areas are not protected from the damage of bottom trawling. They have been termed ‘paper parks’ or ‘unprotected areas’ in a recent report. Defra have made a number of positive moves in this regard since the first Greenpeace action on the Dogger Bank but as usual it is a matter of ambition. No doubt the media profile of a court trial will elevate the profile of this issue once again. Bob Earll
Greenpeace: Greenpeace has built a new underwater ‘boulder barrier’ about 30 miles off the coast of Sussex. This barrier will stop destructive fishing in what’s supposed to be a protected part of the ocean. But we’re also here to expose the government’s failure to look after its so-called Marine Protected Areas all around the UK.
Defra Respond: On 24 February 2021, a vessel manned by Greenpeace, known as MV Esperanza, was observed dropping a number of boulders in the United Kingdom’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ). This activity is currently being investigated by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO).
The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 (MACAA) requires that any vessel which deposits an object in the UK’s EEZ must have a marine licence from the MMO. Click here to read more