Greens mark World Oceans Day at Holyrood

For immediate release 8 June 2011

Green MSP Alison Johnstone today urged the Scottish Parliament to back calls from Scottish Environment LINK for a strong network of Marine Protected Areas using the powers set out in the Marine Act passed last year at Holyrood. The Greens note the continued decline of biodiversity in Scotland's seas, which remain some of the world's most important ecosystems. The call comes on the third annual UN-recognised World Oceans Day, which this year recognises the particular contribution young people make to protecting our seas.

Alison Johnstone MSP said:

"All too often, especially on the environment, the impression given by Ministers is that passing a law is the job done. In the case of last year's Marine Act, nothing could be further from the truth. Ministers have choices to make, especially about the scope and range of Marine Protected Areas, and it will take pressure both from Parliament and environmental campaigners to ensure they keep to their commitments.

"Our seas are an extraordinary and neglected asset, and a strong network of properly protected areas will boost their regeneration and diversity, as well as bringing genuinely sustainable economic and social benefits. The legislation allows Ministers to support our seas. The question now is simply whether they will take that opportunity."

The motion published today reads as follows:
S4M-00237 Alison Johnstone (Scottish Green Party): That the Parliament supports World Oceans Day 2011; notes that this year's theme is Youth: the Next Wave for Change; considers that young people are often a knowledgeable and motivated segment of the population when it comes to the environment and its protection; recognises that Scotland's marine environment is one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet, whose inshore waters are home to over 8,000 complex and 40,000 single cell species of plants and animals; is concerned that recent reports claim that the health and biological diversity of Scotland's seas are in decline; supports the successful implementation of the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010, which aims to reverse these trends, and backs Scottish Environment LINK's Marine Taskforce call to establish an ecologically coherent network of well-managed Marine Protected Areas by 2012 in order to protect and regenerate Scotland's precious marine environment.