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Credit: Wildlife / D. Burton
London, 20 September 2000
UK sea life on red alert

The health of the UK's marine environment is in serious decline as a result of decades of pollution, neglect and over-exploitation, according to a new WWF report.

Marine Health Check, commissioned as part of WWF UK's Oceans Recovery Campaign (ORCA), draws on 16 case studies of key species and habitat indicators, representing different levels in the marine food chain: harbour porpoise, bottlenose dolphin, cod, common skate, little tern, orange roughy, native oyster, salmon, plankton, wire weed, eelgrass meadows, maerl beds, mudflats, reefs, saltmarsh, subtidal sand and gravel.

"The findings of this research are deeply worrying”, said Matthew Davis, leader of WWF UK's Oceans Recovery Campaign. "Not only is our precious marine environment badly damaged, but the damage is getting worse. Life in the sea is draining away and is the most neglected area of our natural heritage. Rapid action by the government is needed now, otherwise recovery for many of these species may not be possible.”

"WWF has identified a number of solutions that will help to kick-start this recovery, such as Marine Protected Areas and pilot Fishing-Free Zones. When used alongside other solutions they can provide protection for the seas and ensure that coastal communities have a sustainable fishing industry for the future,” he added.

Read WWF UK's Press Release