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Protecting our Marine Environment

Ensuring the future of our local Kelp Forest 

11 June 2020

Response from Sir Peter to concerns regarding trawling and the local marine environment

Many have shared concern as trawlers have become noticeable in recent weeks off of our coasts - with fears of the implications for our local marine environment.

The kelp forest off our coast has for centuries provided a vital and abundant habitat, nursery and feeding grounds for seahorses, cuttlefish, lobster, sea bream and bass. Kelp forests are one of the most biodiverse environments on the planet and something we should protect with every effort.

I have objected repeatedly to the destructive trawling that made the seabed a barren desert rather than a productive marine forest.

With other West Sussex MPs, I have supported strongly supported the implementation of a by-law to exclude trawling from a 117 sq mile (302 sq km) area, agreed by the Sussex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority. The next critical step in the process is for the Secretary of State for DEFRA, George Eustice, to sign the by-law so that it can be implemented. Until this happens, trawling along the Sussex coast will continue. We make the urgency of the situation abundantly clear to the Secretary of State.

From experience, legislation helps. When Fisheries minister I banned bottom trawling in Northern Ireland’s Strangford Lough - now recognised internationally for its important abundance in wildlife.

Getting the by-law signed will be a positive and unprecedented step forward for a more sustainable Sussex.

Concerns are heard and shared.

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