Saturday, 18 July 2015

Kerry McCarthy talks about the UK seal slaughter and marine conservation

I signed a petition on the Care2 website a couple of weeks ago protesting
the slaughter of UK seals by fishermen. My signature also prompted an email to be sent to my MP, Kerry McCarthy, about the issue. Although I did vote Green at the General Election, I am happy that Kerry is my MP. I agree with a lot of what she says!  You might remember that, prior to the Election, I posted her response to my questions about humane farming and sustainable food production? The remainder of this post is her response to the seal killing question and comments on marine preservation efforts around our country and overseas:

"Thank you for contacting me as part of the ‘Stop the UK Seal Slaughter’ campaign.

It’s shocking that seal cubs are being left to starve to death as their mothers are shot along Britain's coast. I agree that fishing operations should use non-lethal seal deterrents.

The previous Labour Government had a strong record on this –introducing the EU trade ban on seal products – and I would hope the current Government builds on it. However, I’ve been very disappointed by the Government’s response to parliamentary questions it has received as part of this campaign. I note it has no plans to review current legislative protection or to require fishermen to be licensed to slaughter seals that threaten their fishing stocks, or indeed to ensure current legislative restrictions are properly enforced. I am also surprised the Government is claiming that the lack of controls is having no adverse effect on the seal population - despite the fact that it has not calculated the number of seals killed off the English coast, nor has any plans to do so.

In the last Parliament, I spoke on the urgent need to protect and preserve our wildlife and marine environment. I led a debate on the health of the oceans, and on the measures which are urgently needed to protect them from the cumulative effect of a number of severe individual stresses—from climate change and sea water acidification to widespread chemical pollution and gross overfishing. I am deeply concerned that approximately 90% of the big predatory fish in our oceans, such as sharks and tuna, have been fished out since the 1950s, and that over 85% of global marine fish stocks are fully exploited, overexploited or depleted. You can see some of my interventions here.

In the last Parliament, I successfully made the case within my own Party for us to support the creation of Marine Protected Areas internationally and to support proposals from UK Overseas Territories (OTs) to establish MPAs. And I also raised the need for stronger protection of marine animals and habitats from impact of deep-sea mining (here) and in the Arctic (here). I’ve also been deeply concerned about whaling in the North Atlantic and in the last Parliament made representations to the Faroe Islands and Danish Government about a “Grind” off the coast of the islands, which resulted in the killing of a pod of 33 pilot whales.

I will continue to follow this issue closely and thank you for bringing this issue to my attention, which will be useful if and when this is debated in Parliament.

Thank you once again for writing to me and for sharing your views.

Best wishes,

Kerry McCarthy Labour MP for Bristol East

Twitter: @kerrymp

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