Climate Action

UK Government calls for 30% of oceans to be protected by 2030

Yesterday, the UK Government called for 30 per cent of the world's oceans to be protected by 2030.

  • 25 September 2018
  • Rachel Cooper

Yesterday, the UK Government called for 30 per cent of the world's oceans to be protected by 2030.

Globally, less than 10 per cent of the world’s seas are currently designated as Marine Protected Area (MPAs), this is one of the most important ways to protect precious sea life and habitats from damaging activity.

Now, Environment Secretary Michael Gove is backing the ambitious target for 30 per cent of global seas to be protected by 2030, an announcement scientists and environmentalists have been waiting on for a long time.

Michael Gove said: “Protection of our oceans is a global challenge which requires global action. The UK has already safeguarded vast swathes of precious marine habitats, but we must go further. Only by working together can we protect our shared home and ensure our marine life continues to be a source of awe and wonder for future generations.” 

The United Nations ocean treaty is currently being debated in New York and Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey will push for the target of 30 per cent of oceans being protected by 2030. The current goal set by the UN is 10 per cent by 2020.

Speaking from New York, Thérèse Coffey said: “It is only by working with our counterparts internationally that we can truly bring about global change. I am delighted to be in New York this week to look at how we can build on the progress made on marine protection and protect the world’s oceans for future generations.”

Previously, influential figures such as Swimmer Lewis Pugh have campaigned tirelessly to ensure the government set the appropriate targets to protect our oceans. Yesterday, his goal was met.

Speaking on Twitter, Lewis Pugh wrote: “If this call is supported by other nations and followed through, it will be the most important moment in ocean conservation history.”

The news has been met warmly by environmentalists, but some warn of the hard work that needs to be done to ensure a global target.

Louisa Casson, ocean campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said: “To protect a third of the oceans over the next decade or so, the UK must push for a strong Global Ocean Treaty with real teeth to emerge from ongoing UN negotiations over the next two years. That would allow for the creation of a network of ocean sanctuaries outside of national borders: areas which are safeguarded from human exploitation.”