Public support creation of marine nature reserve


More than four fifths of people support the introduction of a nature reserve in our seas to protect stocks of fish, according to a survey published today on World Oceans Day.

The poll came ahead of the launch of a film, The End Of The Line, which reveals the impacts of overfishing on the world's oceans.

The documentary, by journalist Charles Clover, claims that industrial fishing is emptying the seas of fish, destroying the livelihoods of poor fishermen in places such as Africa and killing wildlife accidentally caught in the process.

And as fisheries ministers are accused of failing to tackle the problems, demand for species such as blue fin tuna, including from top restaurant Nobu, is driving the species closer to the brink of extinction than the white rhino, say campaigners.

The film has been described as the equivalent of Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth for fishing, and is being backed by a wide range of green groups including Greenpeace, WWF and the Wildlife Trusts, and retailers such as Waitrose.

Meanwhile, actress Greta Scacchi is launching her own initiative to help save the world's fish stocks.

She is working with London-based Japanese restaurant Soseki and photographer Rankin to take images of celebrities holding fish for a poster campaign.

Richard E. Grant, Emilia Fox, Terry Gilliam, Lenny Henry and O.T. Fagbenle have already participated.

Scacchi, who starred in White Mischief in 1988, said: "The first round of images are very striking - weird, witty, very saucy and some sensual.

"I have always made environmental issues a priority but recently I have been alerted to the urgency and importance of the effect of over-fishing.

"Nothing prepared me for the impact of Charles Clover's documentary. I came out of the screening shaken by the gravity of the situation."

The campaign will be launched at a celebrity party tonight at Soseki, opposite the Gherkin in the City of London.

A survey by the Co-operative, asking customers to vote at the tills on the chip and pin consuls, found that 83 per cent of the 360,000 people polled were in favour of highly protected marine reserves.

According to the retailer, evidence shows an increase of some 446 per cent in the amount of sealife found in reserves where fishing is banned compared to unprotected areas, while the benefits spill over into nearby waters - boosting productivity for fishermen.

Some scientists have warned that globally, without action to bring in marine reserves and stop the most destructive forms of fishing, the world's fisheries could all collapse by 2048.

As The End Of The Line was released, Mr Clover warned overfishing of the world's oceans ranked beside climate change as one of the biggest problems facing humans this century.

Mr Clover said: "The issue of overfishing isn't just something for the most junior minister in the cabinet and EU - it's one of the world's most important problems and it's the big problem on 70% of the Earth's surface."

"The world needs to understand over-fishing ranks up there beside climate change, human overpopulation and food security as one of the four big problems facing the present century.

"We're going to have to start managing large abundant fish populations for healthy oceans, rather than hunting down the last fish and then moving onto the next species."

The RSPB said that in addition to damaging fish stocks, industrial fishing was killing at least 300,000 birds a year, and threatening 18 out of 22 species of albatross with extinction.

The Co-op and Marine Conservation Society are backing calls for some 30% of the UK's seas to be included in a network of highly protected marine reserves under the Marine Bill which comes before the Commons this week.

MCS director Dr Simon Brockington said: "Our seas have taken a battering over the last century, but they may be amazingly forgiving.

"By offering much needed protection to important areas of our seas now, we could still ensure a diverse and productive future".

Dr Helen Phillips, chief executive of the Government's conservation agency Natural England, said the Marine Bill would "provide a once in a lifetime opportunity to rescue this incredibly precious resource from additional harm, to recover its fish stocks and to help the fishing industry move towards a more sustainable footing for the future".

She added: "As the End of the Line shows, this level of protection cannot come quickly enough if we are to avert an environmental disaster on an unprecedented scale."

But industry body Seafish urged the Government to acknowledge the role of British fishermen in the Marine Bill for their contribution to the economy, leading the way globally on sustainability and ensuring food supplies in a world of growing food insecurity.

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Image from a flyer at the CPAC event where Nigel Farage will be speaking
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...

Recruitment Genius: Photographic Event Crew

£14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developers - .NET / ASP.NET / WebAPI / JavaScript

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Solicitor - City

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A first rate opportunity to join a top ranking...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower