UK seas ‘in peril’ – says report

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Fishing and climate change are harming marine life, according to a report by the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

The report blames fishing, industrial activities, pollution, acidification and warming waters for the decline in certain marine species. However, it does state that much of the open ocean is not affected by pollution and some contaminants are decreasing.

Environment Minister Elliot Morley says the problem requires a “new approach”.

“Today’s report suggests that asking new questions of our marine environment require a new approach,” Mr Morley stated. “This new approach will hopefully give us the answers we are looking for and help us plan for the long term.

“But what I can say with some certainty is that we are having an adverse effect on our marine life and climate change is certainly evident in our seas.”

Charting Progress: An Integrated Assessment Of The State Of UK Seas provides the first integrated assessment, across the entire UK Continental Shelf, of how humans are affecting marine ecosystems.

Declining fish stocks

The report’s main findings, which cover the Scottish and English coasts as far south as Flamborough Head, include: