By Matthew Offord MP for Hendon - UK leadership on ocean conservation has won international acclaim. The landmark Blue Belt policy to work with the UK Overseas Territories to “create the largest marine sanctuaries anywhere in the world” has only furthered this standing, with commitments to create large protected areas around Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha in 2019 and 2020 respectively already widely welcomed.
The British Embassy in Santiago participated this month with over 30 British delegates and a GREAT-branded stand at Impac4, the world’s largest Congress on International Marine Protected Areas held in La Serena, a city located in the north of Chile. The Congress, hosted by the Chilean Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Environment, was followed by a High Level meeting in the city of Viña del Mar, near Santiago, Chile’s capital.
The 23 new Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) announced by UK Marine Environment Minister, George Eustice, bring the total to 50 marine protected areas, which now cover more than one fifth of English waters. The ‘Blue Belt’ now comprises over 20% of English waters granting vital protection for the diverse array of wildlife in the country’s seas.