Bexhill and Battle MP, Huw Merriman, spoke in Parliament last week in support of a new Marine Conservation Zone from Beachy Head to Hastings.
Speaking during a Westminster Hall debate on UK Fisheries Policy, Huw emphasised the importance of protecting the marine environment from over-fishing and destructive trawling methods. He said “I support the bid from the Marine Conversation Society for a new zone to be set up for Beachy Head East which would run from Beachy Head lighthouse to Hastings pier. It also has the huge support of my neighbour, my right hon. Friend the Member for Hastings and Rye (Amber Rudd). That area of water, which would run out for six nautical miles, is rich in marine biodiversity, but unfortunately the trawlers that have taken their catch have also taken absolutely everything else.”
Marine protected areas have been proven to benefit local fisheries and improve local marine biodiversity. The Marine Conservation Zone proposed for Beachy Head East is an area characterised by a sandstone and chalk reef system which is home to a wealth of marine wildlife. There are also blue mussel beds, including the ‘Bexhill Mussel Garden’ which is a fragile living reef and host to many marine species.
Huw and Amber Rudd have already written to the Environment Minister, Therese Coffey MP, in support of the Beachy Head East Marine Conservation Zone. Huw took the opportunity to speak about it during the Fisheries Policy debate last week as the Minister will soon be signing off the final list of potential new Marine Conservation Zones which will go out for public consultation in June this year.