Wednesday, 2 May 2018

Prof Callum Roberts @ Radio 4's Life Scientific >>> >>> Marine Conservation Zones are "useless 'paper parks' that offer no real protection from the dredging and trawling that has devastated large areas of England’s seas for decades."

We need to protect our seas:
Futures Forum: Campaigning for an Antarctic Ocean Sanctuary

Prof Callum Roberts of York University is pushing for a reserve to help its biodiversity recover: 

World's biggest wildlife reserve planned for Antarctica in global campaign 

13 January 2018

The seas around Antarctica are some of the most important in the world with a huge diversity of species. If successful, campaigners hope the sanctuary will build momentum towards a UN ambition to create a network of marine protected areas covering international waters.

Experts say that, as well as protecting wildlife by allowing ecosystems to recover in and around the Antarctic, the ocean sanctuary would provide global benefits, with recovering fish populations spreading around the world, encouraging vital biodiversity and providing food security for billions of people.

Callum Roberts, professor of marine conservation at the University of York, said the sanctuary would also play a key role in tackling climate change – soaking up huge amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

“The Antarctic is very important in locking away carbon in deep-sea sediments. There is also a very rapid rate of sinking there – it has some of the coldest waters in the world … and this sinking is one of the great pumps of the global ocean system.”

He added that the new sanctuary would be an important step to preserving a sustainable global oceans system. “The Antarctic is a massively important area and you mess with it at your peril.”

World's biggest wildlife reserve planned for Antarctica in global campaign | Environment | The Guardian

Prof Roberts is certainly renown:
Roberts, Callum - Environment, The University of York
The incredible creatures living in our waters - Plymouth Herald

And he is pushing for Marine Conservation Zones around the UK - but ones which actually do the work they were designed for:
England's marine conservation network is worse than useless | Callum Roberts | Environment | The Guardian

That was in 2014. He continues to be scathing about the uselessness of the MCZs, as in this piece from last month: 

The MCZs have been also criticised as useless “paper parks” that offer no real protection from the dredging and trawling that has devastated large areas of England’s seas for decades.

“They have no management at all, so life within them remains unprotected,” said said Prof Callum Roberts, at the University of York and one of the UK’s leading marine conservation experts. “They will be worse than useless, giving the illusion of protection where none is present.”

Mass die-off of sea creatures follows freezing UK weather | Environment | The Guardian

Here he is on last night's Life Scientific on Radio 4: 

Callum Roberts on the urgent need for marine conservation

The Life Scientific

1 MAY 2018

Callum Roberts, Professor of Marine Biology at the University of York, learnt to dive in a leaky wet suit in the North Sea when he was a boy. 

As a student, he was introduced to the extraordinary diversity of marine life on a coral reef in the Red Sea. His job was to count different species of fish but he also noticed several different species of fish working together to defend a common resource, lurid green algal lawns. Life on coral reef is notoriously competitive and collaboration on this scale was unexpected. 

In 1991 he wrote a ground-breaking paper about marine reserves showing how it is possible to have our fish and eat them. It was a radical suggestion at the time. Now many countries are committed to protecting 10% of the ocean in this way by 2020. Aiming to maintain fish stocks in their current state is, Callum says, ridiculously unambitious. 

On sabbatical at Harvard University, he started reading historical accounts by pirates, travellers and fishermen and his eyes were opened wider still to just how rich marine life could be. As early as the 12th century laws were being put in place to help preserve fishing stocks. Two hundred years ago off the coast of Britain a diverse array of sea fans and sponges covered the sea floor. There were millions of oysters and scallops the size of dinner plates.

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