Yesterday was World Ocean Day 2021. As one of Sky Ocean Rescue and WWF's 'MP Ocean Heroes', I took part in a debate to mark the day. Read on to find my speech.
"I am the Member of Parliament for Gower, and I am very proud of the Gower peninsula and all it has to offer. A precious and diverse seabed surrounds the peninsula—we must consider that on World Oceans Day, and work with our fishing industry—and the Gower constituency is renowned for its salt marshes, its cockle beds and its environment.
When we talk about plastics pollution, it is important to consider the many organisations that help to keep our beaches and our seabeds clean, as well individuals, such as young Sonny in my constituency, and community groups such as Pennard Community Council, which go out and keep their precious areas clean. They are to be commended for their hard work, but the Welsh Labour Government are also to be commended, because it is so important that we work together across the four nations to protect our seabeds. The UK marine strategy is already backed up by secondary legislation and works across all four nations; however, in its current state, it is no longer fit for purpose. There is a focus on indicators rather than action, and insufficient accounting for the increase in the effects of climate change on our seas. This year, the United Kingdom has a prime opportunity to set a new mandate for our marine strategy: to restore and safeguard declining coastal ecosystems and to demonstrate global leadership in ocean recovery.
I, along with many other politicians, support the Ocean Hero programme: it was really important that we were there to speak to the World Wild Fund for Nature about the problems that we have on our seabeds. We have to take control now, and understand that we have to change to move forward. “The Blue Planet”, as many have mentioned, was an eye-opener for so many people, sitting in their armchairs and watching the world around us. We have to look after our seabeds, and I totally support what the hon. Member for North Devon has said in today’s debate. I will draw to a close and say thank you very much, Chair."
Find out more about the Ocean Hero campaign here.