Covering 12,000 square kilometers or about 4,600 square miles, the UK government has been hard at work with environmental experts, implementing 41 conservation zones across the England coastline. These blue belt zones come as a response to growing concerns of the human impact on the surrounding marine wildlife.
It is no secret that man is affecting wildlife across the world, including in our oceans. Human activities affect marine ecosystems as a result of pollution, overfishing, the introduction of invasive species, and acidification, which all impact on the marine food web and may lead to largely unknown consequences for the biodiversity and survival of marine life forms. Over the years the United Kingdom has worked hard to protect these delicate ecosystems.
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Blue Belt Zones
Roughly eight times the size of London or twice the size of England, the conservation zone will cover England’s seas and range from the coast of Northumberland to the seas south of the Isles of Scilly. The newly created area was created to protect a diverse group of marine wildlife including the eider ducks, basking sharks, and the always adorable short-snouted seahorses.
This additional zone brings the full UK blue belt to a massive 220,000 square kilometers spanning the seas of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. According to the UK's environment secretary Michael Gove, “The UK is already leading the rest of the world by protecting over 30% of our ocean – but we know there is more to do.
"Establishing this latest round of marine conservation zones in this year of green action is another big step in the right direction, extending our blue belt to safeguard precious and diverse sea life for future generations to come.”
The removal of excess fishing has helped the seabed recover which is good for nature conservation as well as the fisherman because, when left alone, the area will produce more fish. Previous conservation efforts have seen success attracting the blooming of diverse animals, which also in turn help with the absorption of carbon dioxide.
According to Tony Juniper, chair of Natural England, “Today really does mark a major step forward for the conservation of our precious marine environment, but there is still much to be done, including putting in place more of the good practices that we know are needed to secure the long-term health of our seas and their wildlife.”