Call for Marine Conservation Bill after WWF report

ALLIANCE MLA for Strangford, Kieran McCarthy, has said that his party will introduce a Marine Conservation Bill to the Assembly when it is restored, after a WWF survey showed that Strangford Lough had lost 3.7 square kilometres of its horse mussel beds since 1993.

Mr McCarthy stated:

“The situation in Strangford Lough does not seem to be getting any better. The authorities need to manage our marine resources and wildlife in a much more sustainable manner than at present.

“The Lough is incredibly important environmentally, and the WWF’s latest Marine Health Check is worrying. Only recently, we saw a major shoreline habitat for Brent geese ploughed up, and now this.

“We do not need to exploit protected nature reserves or marine resources in a way that disrupts the delicate ecological balance, where many species are interdependent. But the law is quite lax about protecting the shoreline in certain ways, and that is why Alliance was preparing a Marine Conservation Bill in the last Assembly.

“Unfortunately, the Assembly collapsed before the laws could be introduced, but the need for it is still there, and Alliance will continue to press for the introduction of adequate protective legislation.”

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