Saving the Seas, One Reserve at a Time

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Conservationists and snorkeling fans alike will be excited at one of the newest marine reserves--Lundy Island, off the southwest coast of Great Britain, is now recognized as the UK's first official marine conservation zone. Dubbed "Britain's Galapagos" for the rich marine life it shelters, the island was privately owned until 1969, when it became part of the National Trust. Although it has been a protected location since then, it recently became the first protected marine area under Britain's new Marine and Coastal Access Act. With this new legislation, Britain hopes to increase protection of marine wildlife and habitat. Like oceans around the world, the waters around Britain currently face a major overfishing crisis, with many of the native fish stocks severely threatened. As the government and national conservation groups work to reverse this trend before it is too late, reserves such as the one on Lundy Island are critical to restoring natural balance in Britain's marine ecosystems. 

Exactly which animals are being protected on Lundy Island? The island is home to much of Britain's marine life, including puffins and other seabirds, as well as the Atlantic Gray Seal, and many species of seaweed, sponges, and other marine wildlife. As the first of many marine conservation zones in Britain, the island is an important part of marine biologist Sylvia Earle's vision for a worldwide network of marine protected areas. As Earle notes, protecting the oceans is important for all life on earth. With less than 1% of the world's oceans currently protected, it is imperative that we recognize the importance of creating reserves around Lundy Island and in other marine areas.

Although most of Seacology's projects protect islands in the southern hemisphere, if Earle's vision is realized, the protected area around Lundy Island could connect with a Seacology reserve in the South Pacific, thousands of miles away. Not only would a network of MPAs protect marine wildlife around the world, but it might give Lundy's seals a chance for a long-awaited tropical vacation! 

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This page contains a single entry by Carynne McIver published on February 11, 2010 1:18 PM.

Islands 101: Geography & Ecosystems was the previous entry in this blog.

One Cubic Foot of Biodiversity is the next entry in this blog.

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