Marine Conservation Society’s open letter to political leaders

By Cherie Beling

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Author: Mark ‘Crowley’ Russell

MCS is calling for raw sewage dumping to be stopped unless its an emergency (Photo: Catherine Gemmell/MCS)

Help drive change in UK political commitment to the oceans by signing the Marine Conservation Society’s petition


The UK’s Marine Conservation Society has written an open letter to the UK’s political party leaders urging them to prioritise the recovery and enhancement of the ocean and marine life during this year’s elections.

The charity has accompanied its letter with a petition calling on the public to support its recently published Manifesto For Our Seas, which highlights 12 key marine policies it wants the next UK Government to enact based on four main areas:

  • a commitment to sustainable ocean investment
  • an increase in the number and area of UK Marine Protected Areas
  • a reduction in all ocean pollution, with particular reference to raw sewage dumping and forever chemicals
  • a commitment to sustainable fisheries management

‘Our ocean supports life on earth. It provides us with food, energy, and jobs making us feel better and mitigating the effects of climate change. But we know its health is in decline,’ said Sandy Luk, MCS Chief Executive.

‘We have the solutions to revive our seas. Party leaders must now prioritise policies for ocean recovery in their manifestos. We need strong leadership to protect our ocean, so that it can continue to provide its invaluable benefits. Without proper protection of vital marine habitats, we risk losing precious marine life and degrading the marine environment beyond repair.’

Sign the petition here
Read the MCS Manifesto For Our Seas here

Marine Conservation Society’s open letter to party leaders

Dear Party Leaders,

I am writing to you on behalf of the staff and supporters of the Marine Conservation Society, the UK’s leading marine conservation charity – to urge you prioritise the recovery and enhancement of our ocean and marine life during this election period. It is a crucial issue that cannot be ignored – our very survival depends on it.

During the party conferences, none of you specifically mentioned ocean conservation.

Yet the ocean is the world’s heart and lungs – it is a life-giving asset that absorbs about a quarter of carbon dioxide emitted by humanity. It is one of the most important factors in the fight against climate change, with vital habitats like our seagrass meadows and kelp forests capturing more carbon than a tropical rainforest. That’s why, ahead of the next General Election, we are highlighting crucial ocean conservation policies.

Our ocean’s health is under increasing threat from pollution, overfishing and habitat destruction, which together threaten its ability to mitigate climate change, endanger marine life and jeopardise sustainable livelihoods. We depend on our seas for food, income and cultural heritage. The UK economy is also dependent on a clean and healthy ocean, with pollution restricting the size and strength of our national finances.

The Marine Conservation Society’s Manifesto for our Seas details a set of comprehensive and evidence-based policies aimed at addressing challenges and ensuring the long-term health and resilience of our marine ecosystems.

We urgently want to see these measures reflected in your plans for government so that our ocean can in future be healthier and cleaner.

Photo: Marek Okon/Unsplash
Invest in our Ocean’s future

Our seas offer huge economic potential, for example through offshore wind, tourism and recreation, and fisheries. But healthy seas must be the foundation of a sustainable blue economy. We believe that growing our sustainable blue economy will deliver economic resilience, adaptability and opportunity in uncertain times. In doing so, it will achieve social, economic, environmental and political targets.

We are asking you to deliver a sustainable blue economy through dramatically scaling up public investment and setting regulatory frameworks to stimulate private investment.

Photo: Catherine Gemmell
Turn the tide on pollution

Pollution from plastic, untreated sewage and harmful chemicals unquestionably comprises three of the biggest threats to our ocean and marine life. The Marine Conservation Society and our supporters urgently want to see an end to untreated sewage entering the environment, better enforcement of regulatory frameworks against damage caused by forever chemicals and the speedy introduction of a comprehensive Deposit Return Scheme that includes glass as we move us toward a circular economy. Drinks-related litter is found on more than 90 per cent of the UK’s beaches – an entirely avoidable problem.

Photo: Billy Barraclough
Take immediate steps to address the challenges

Recent surveys show that the overwhelming majority of people are in favour of policies to tackle climate change. By prioritising our Manifesto for our Seas, you will be helping to safeguard our marine environment and demonstrate your commitment to addressing one of society’s most pressing issues.

Thank you for your attention to this important issue. We look forward to working with you to advance policies that protect and preserve our seas for future generations.


Sandy Luk,
CEO of the Marine Conservation Society

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