Thank you to everyone who has contacted me in recent weeks about protecting our oceans.
Our seas and oceans support diverse marine ecosystems and provide rich biodiversity and carbon storage of global importance. I share your concern that our oceans are increasingly under threat including from marine plastic, ocean acidification, overfishing, habitat destruction and the climate and ecological crisis.
I want to see 30% of the world’s oceans protected by 2030 and I believe that the UK should lead the global effort for the UN Ocean Treaty to pave the way in creating this global network of marine sanctuaries.
The UK Government says it has been closely involved in the negotiation of a new Implementing Agreement under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity of areas beyond national jurisdiction.
It says the agreement is an important step forward in addressing the challenges facing our oceans and reaching the 30% target by 2030. The UK is pressing for an ambitious agreement to be concluded in 2020.
We need to take greater steps towards making all our seas truly sustainable. I believe we need to co-operate with our overseas territories to extend Blue Belt provisions in oceans around the world. The UK Opposition would roll out national marine parks across the UK, working with the devolved administrations and local authorities to ensure our most important coastal habitats are properly protected.
My Labour colleagues and I will continue to press the Government to take meaningful action on protecting our oceans.