Our seas and the wildlife found within them are under increasing pressure from issues such as pollution and marine litter to unsustainable fisheries practices. Over the centuries they have been taken for granted, wrongly regarded as a limitless resource. Fragile habitats have been destroyed, once-common species are now on the brink of extinction, fish stocks are diminishing with over 75% of EU fish stocks overfished (State of Nature report 2013) and marine resources have been depleted. Wales is so special that over 35% of Welsh territorial seas are designated as marine protected areas. However, more effective marine management (e.g. enforcement and monitoring) is urgently needed as marine wildlife is still declining both within and outside of these protected areas.
It is not too late to protect our unique marine environment and ensure its health for future generations. The laws introduced in 2009 provide the Welsh Government (WG) with the powers required to revolutionise marine management in Wales. Equally, the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive guides the management of our seas at international level to ensure the waters around our coast are safe, healthy and biologically productive. The Wales Environment Link marine campaign is calling for Welsh Government to use these tools in the best possible way to protect Welsh seas for the future. The campaign is focusing on four key areas, which include Marine Planning, Marine Protected Areas, Marine Strategy Framework Directive and Marine Fisheries.