Sir Oliver Heald MP backs Marine Protected Areas

Here is the text of a Written Parliamentary Question tabled by Sir Oliver to the Foreign Office, and the reply he received, on the subject of Marine Protected Areas.

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Q: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps he is taking to promote marine protected areas internationally.

A: As announced in the Natural Environment White Paper, the Government is committed to the negotiation of a new implementing agreement under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea for the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction. These should, in particular, address the designation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and the fact that there is currently no universally accepted legal framework for the international recognition of MPAs in the high seas. My Department, working in close cooperation with the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, has played an active role in discussions on this issue at the United Nations Ad Hoc Open-ended Working Group on Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction, and we are pressing for a decision by September 2015 to commence formal negotiations on a new agreement in accordance with outcome of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.

Leading by example in the areas within our own jurisdiction, the UK has a number of MPAs around the UK, and additionally there are three MPAs around the UK’s overseas territories.