Marine and Coastal

Page updated:

Major revision February 2012

Last amendment September 2014

Introduction

MC100 The oceans cover nearly 71 percent of the planet’s surface. Despite this huge spatial dominance, or perhaps because of it, our oceans are treated with considerable disrespect by significant sectors of society. Fisheries Ministers continue to set fishing quotas at levels  above the ocean’s productivity, and  a significant number of commercial species are fully or over-exploited. There is still widespread illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. Too often the marine environment is treated as a dump for rubbish and effluent; vast quantities of chemical pollutants wash into the sea via river discharges; CO2 deposition is rapidly leading to increased acidification; CO2 sequestration capacity in marine and coastal ecosystems is decreasing due to environmental degradation; there is a race to ‘grab’ huge areas of continental shelf for oil; gas and other resource exploitation; and marine ecosystems are rapidly degrading.

MC101 Since the oceans supply a large proportion of the world’s animal protein, support some 250 million jobs in fisheries alone, are the basis for our climate regulation, are home for  an estimate of at least half of the planet’s species, and are frequent holiday destination or a recreation venue of first choice, it is time that this abuse was reversed.

MC102 This policy is concerned with activities, processes, research and management affecting a range of "marine areas". As well as oceans and seas these areas could include estuaries, fjords, sea lochs, bays, lagoons, inlets and other salt-water environments.

Policy Principles

MC200 Natural ecosystems provide a range of provisioning, cultural, aesthetic, supporting and regulatory services and experiences that are of supreme value. These need to be protected so as to best maintain a suitable quality of life and human dignity and the complex biodiversity that underpins the functioning of the planet, as well as our economic activity. Therefore all marine activities will have to function sustainably within environmental limits. This must be set as the overriding policy objective for all policies within the marine and coastal sectors.

MC201 Marine ecosystems have unquantifiable rights and values, and we cannot and should not place a monetary value on sustaining them. Although economic valuation may seem an objective tool, the process of valuation that underpins it is inevitably subjective. In addition, many crucial components of a healthy planet cannot easily be monetised, which can lead to them being ignored – despite their importance – when analysis of worth is reduced to purely financial terms.

MC202 Decisions regarding fishing quotas and other extractive activities should be made on the basis of the best available scientific advice, rather than political expediency. Our baseline for well- functioning and sustainable marine ecosystems should be based on scientific and historical evidence of the likely state of the oceans prior to both intensive and extensive human use.

MC203 The varied activities being practised in the seas should aim to be sustainable and each activity should respect the rights of other marine users. It is thus our aim to promote compatibility and reduce conflict between users of the marine environment. To do this the varied activities need to be managed in an integrated way, and this requires an “ecosystems approach” (i.e., the integrated management of land, water and living resources to promote conservation and sustainable, equitable development) to the management of individual marine resources and activities which requires necessitates efficient marine spatial planning and the mandatory use of Environmental Impact Assessments.

MC204 All values, rules, and management systems that are employed to best sustain our land area can and should be similarly deployed in the marine environment. So, for instance, conservation designations, environmental impact assessments, planning regulations, etc, should have an equivalent within  the ocean.

MC205 There are longstanding coastal communities who make their living from the sea and whose livelihoods and knowledge should be respected. This applies both in a social and economic sense, and from the perspective of established practice on how to sustainably manage resources within their own fields of activity.

MC206 Climate change has a particular influence on marine coastal areas which is likely to cause problems with the maintenance of biodiversity and for coastal communities. These marked and rapid changes in physical environments and the displacement of ecosystems will have detrimental effects on species distribution and livelihoods.

MC207 Given the failure of many existing marine management systems, there will need to be a radical overhaul of most existing management practices. This should involve all stakeholders and it is unlikely that there can be uniform rules and regulations across the whole of the UK’s seas. Improvements to management systems must be made on the basis of sound science backed up by better monitoring and enforcement systems. (which should preferably be consensual and leave no room for perverse incentives). Management of marine activities should be applied at the most appropriate localised level possible.

MC208 Fisheries are governed in a complex manner through a web of public, private and hybrid institutions who manage, administer and regulate the sector, and the weakness of this governance is one of the main factors behind problem of overfishing. The most crucial aspects of fisheries governance relate to:

(i) Connecting local fishery policies to supporting national policy framework;

(ii) The capability of fishery administrations;

(iii) The nature of entitlements to resource access, including possible co-management systems;

(iv) The level of participation of stakeholders, non-governmental organisations civil society groups;

(v) The availability and quality of scientific stock assessments

(vi) The availability and enforcement of deterrence measures;

(vii) The level and extent of inter-ministerial coordination; and

(viii) The quality of international collaboration.

Unifying of these diverse aspects must be at the basis of any sustainable fisheries policy.

Marine Governance

Background

MC300 Worldwide there have been many initiatives towards co-management of the oceans to meet both environmental and economic goals. However, despite numerous pieces of legislation aimed at enhancing the status of marine environments, governments and businesses are giving far too little priority and urgency to ameliorating the dire situations that prevail in many of our seas. There is now a large and growing gap between what is immediately needed and the rate of progress that is being pursued.

MC301 It is now recognised by most users of the marine environment that, if the ocean is to thrive and be sustainable into the future with respect to a range of competing activities, then it must be managed holistically in coordination between  a range of authorities, interested groups and stakeholders, on the basis of sound science. 

Policies

MC302 Given that marine processes and activities do not conform to imposed political boundaries, and that marine matters important to Britain are widespread, and further that each matter may have an optimal and desirable scale of governance, the Green Party will seek to establish jurisdictional authority over marine matters at six distinct and coherent levels:

a) International;

b) European Union;

c) National (UK); 

d) The countries and Overseas Territories of the UK;

e) Regional; and

f) Local.

MC303 Governance at all six levels (above) would function within prescribed Marine Spatial Plans. The plans will be written in consultation with all users of the sea; they will be embody a requirement for sustainability; they will adopt an ecosystems approach (i.e., that the marine ecosystem will be considered as a whole rather than as individual components); and will recognise the precautionary principle (i.e., the burden of proof will lie with those wishing to utilise the marine environment to show that their actions will not be harmful).

MC304 Governance of the marine environment would be fully integrated between the different sectors using the ocean, and management would be devolved to the appropriate level, with an assumption that the lowest level possible is. the most appropriate.

MC305 Good governance can only function on the basis of good information and sound science. Given past problems with regulating matters at sea, the Green Party will endeavour to optimise marine monitoring systems, and will put in place efficient data gathering systems, particularly with respect to the management of fisheries and to climate change. All boats granted a licence to fish commercially within British waters must be equipped with a GPS-enabled Vessel Monitoring System, to be operational at all times.

MC306 In order to secure effective marine governance, legal frameworks will be strengthened and the monitoring and enforcement capabilities of relevant bodies increased. A recognisable “fishing pattern” (as defined by fisheries experts and given a legal definition) detected by monitoring systems will be sufficient evidence to prosecute ships if detected within designated no-take areas.

MC307 The Green Party would seek large-scale reform of the Crown Estate (which currently has a monopoly on the sea bed around the UK, and is required to administer this on a purely commercial basis), devolving its powers to more locally-based levels of accountability within government and changing its remit to emphasise long-term environmental sustainability of our marine environment.

MC308 The Green Party believes that management at the EU level (i.e., under the Common Fisheries Policy [CFP]) needs to fundamentally shift from viewing the CFP as an instrument for regulating economic activity, to a policy whose primary aim is to ensure the integrity and sound functioning of marine ecosystems.

UK Overseas Territories

Background

MC310 Only four other countries in the world are responsible for more of the ocean than the UK, and as a nation we claim control over three and a half times as much ocean as we do land. This is because the UK retains jurisdiction over 14 Overseas Territories, and holds exclusive sovereign rights within their waters. The UK therefore has a great opportunity to lead the way in the protection and management of the world’s seas, over a range of latitudes and habitat types.

Policies

MC311 The Green Party would ensure that conservation of the marine environment in the Overseas Territories is funded to a level equal to its global significance.

MC312 The establishment of highly protected marine reserves (in collaboration with the local community where one exists) would be a priority, with an aim to cover at least 30% of the ocean under UK jurisdiction. These reserves would be equipped with adequate enforcement and monitoring capabilities in order to deter illegal fishing, monitor biodiversity, and provide a base for scientific research.

MC313 In order to ensure joined-up policy across the totality of the ocean over which Britain has responsibility, this responsibility will sit in the same government department that has responsibility for waters around the UK itself.

MC314 Overseas Territories will be prevented from acting as “flags of convenience” for other nations (a practice which provides relatively lax inspection and crewing requirements, as well as tax advantages), and instead will have to comply with the maritime standards of British domestic law.

Fisheries

Background

MC320 We are overfishing our oceans. The majority of commercial fish stocks worldwide are fully exploited or overexploited, and almost all of the top ocean predators are very severely depleted. The over-exploitation and mismanagement of fisheries has already led to some spectacular collapses, for example the failure of the cod fishery off Newfoundland, Canada, in 1992, leading to the loss of some 40,000 jobs in the industry. 

MC321 Alongside the destruction of commercial fish stocks, indiscriminate fishing  practices have led to marine mammals, birds and corals, as well as numerous “non-target” fish species and juveniles being caught as by-catch to the fishing industry. In some fisheries, such as that in the North Sea, over half of the catch is thrown back into the ocean, dead, because it is not the target species, it is below minimum landing size, or because it is over quota.

MC322 In the EU especially, fisheries quotas are decided on the basis of scientific predictions of a “Maximum Sustainable Yield” (MSY), but unfortunately politicians have used MSY as a starting point and negotiated quotas upwards, disregarding scientific advice about the level of exploitation fisheries can withstand. In addition, MSY’s “baseline” for sustainability looks only a few years into the past, and does not take into account the significant alterations that have taken place in our marine ecosystem over the last few centuries as a result of fishing.

Policies

MC323 Human impacts on the marine environment should be managed in a fully precautionary manner. This principle would reverse the current presumption in favour of fishing. In future, fishing rights (or aquaculture operations in the marine environment) should be allocated on the basis of sustainability and social criteria, giving preferential access to the least environmentally destructive operators and the operators contributing the most to coastal communities. 

MC324 The Green Party would promote action at the European level to ensure that, outside its home waters, the European fleet does not fish to standards that would be unacceptable within the EU. In particular, access agreements should restrict fishing to sustainable levels that respect the environment and the livelihoods of people in developing countries, and effective measures should be rapidly developed to monitor, police and enforce compliance in such fishing.

MC325 The allocation of quotas should be based on long term regional management plans, with input by local inshore fishing fleets and other relevant stakeholders. Those involved in fishing activities should be required to demonstrate that their activities do not damage the marine environment and that they make significant economic contributions to coastal fishing communities. Quotas should be allocated with a bias towards low impact operations and should not be tradable between EU countries. Information on the allocation of quotas should be open and transparent.

MC326 The vessel decommissioning scheme would be continued in order to reduce the capacity of the UK fishing fleet to an environmentally sustainable level, and it would be necessary to ensure that similar reductions are made in all EU fleets that fish in UK waters.

MC327 The Green Party would press at EU level for an end to all subsidies that can result in increased fishing pressure, including concessionary tax rates for fuel, vessel modification and improving port and fish processing facilities.

MC328 In order to reduce the by-catch associated with fishing, modified gears should be introduced for the entire fleet along with a more comprehensive monitoring regime to ensure compliance and to determine the effectiveness of these measures. Target levels for by-catches per species per area would be set and if these target levels are not met in a particular fishery, then this fishery would be temporarily closed. The Green Party would additionally demand an EU-wide ban on discards at sea, and would support research into the impact of this ban on seabird and marine mammal populations.

MC329 We would press the European Commission to ban bottom trawling, gillnetting and long-lining for deep-sea species in EU waters., either by EU or international fleets. We would promote measures to prohibit destructive deep-sea fishing and would work towards a ban on high seas bottom trawling, and for proper implementation and enforcement under relevant  international legislation.

MC330 The Common Fisheries Policy should comply with the EU’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive in seeking to return all populations of commercially exploited marine species to within biologically safe limits. It should be impossible to set unsustainable catch limits. We would aim to return catch limits to sizes that are commensurate with the natural productivity from high quality, sustainable marine ecosystems 

Marine Aquaculture

Background

MC340 Industrial-scale fish farming is not the answer to dwindling fish stocks in the oceans. The majority of farmed finfish are carnivorous and therefore relies on further unsustainable fishing for feed. Intensive fish farming causes widespread pollution of inland and coastal waters and spreads disease to wild fish. However, there is a clear difference between industrial aquaculture in developed nations and the small-scale aquaculture practised in many rural communities. The latter can be sustainable and is an important source of food and income.

Policies

MC341 The Green Party would phase out all fish farms that involve overstocking, heavy use of feed, chemical or fossil fuel inputs, pollution or inhumane conditions. Only fish farms that meet the following criteria will be permitted:

a) Does not use fish meal from unsustainable fisheries, rather uses plant-based feeds from sustainable agriculture, and does not use genetically modified feeds or fish;

b) Does not use wild caught juveniles;

c) Only cultivates native species in open water systems, only in bag nets, closed wall sea pens or equivalents. Any cultivation of non-native species must be restricted to land-based tanks;

d) Does not result in negative environmental impacts such as discharges and effluents, or deplete local resources such as drinking water supplies;

e) Does not represent a risk to local wild populations or have a negative impact on local wildlife;

f) Does not use stocking densities which risk disease outbreaks and transmission;

g) Does not threaten human health.

MC342 Support will be given for small-scale sustainable aquaculture projects, provided they meet the criteria listed above. Furthermore, the Green Party is keen to support further research into sustainable aquaculture.

Sustainable Livelihoods

Background

MC350 Small-scale, low-impact fishing fleets and communities with fishing heritage have the potential to deliver significant cultural, environmental and economic benefits to the UK, but current arrangements make it difficult for fishermen to make a living. A move away from large industrialised fishing practices to smaller, locally-based fisheries would not only be environmentally beneficial but would also provide a boost to coastal economies.

Policies

MC351 Fisheries should be managed using the Sustainable Livelihoods Approach, a people-centred approach that aims to help people achieve lasting livelihood improvements measured using poverty indicators that they, themselves, define. Sustainable livelihoods are those that:

a) Are resilient in the face of external shocks and stresses;

b) Are not dependent upon external support;

c) Maintain the long-term productivity of natural resources; and

d) Do not undermine the livelihoods of, or compromise the livelihood options open to, others.

MC352 Fisheries policies should be biased in favour of low impact fishing methods and the inshore fishing fleet. This would enable smaller-scale fishers to operate competitively and therefore maintain livelihoods within local communities. It would also help to reduce the negative environmental impacts that are caused almost exclusively by  .higher-impact fishing practises, such as heavy mobile gear.

MC353 Rather than fish being caught, processed, packaged and sold in disparate parts of the world, these processes should be performed on a local or regional scale, and fishermen should be encouraged to take on more aspects of the supply chain. This would enable local fishermen to maximise the value of their catch, would support local economic development and would reduce the environmental impact of fisheries.

MC354 As a greater percentage of our seas come under protection, it is important that those who have the most knowledge of our waters and coastline play a major role in the management of these areas. The Green Party would enable and encourage fishing communities to gain employment in the management, monitoring and enforcement of our marine environment, thereby utilising their experience and passion for the oceans and diversifying income streams so that they are not solely reliant on catches to make a living.

MC355 Mindful of Green Party policies favouring localism, we would encourage the promotion of British seafood products over those from elsewhere and would support developing home markets for a more diverse range of fish from UK waters. A clearer and more consistent labelling system for marine products would be developed to allow consumers to make informed choices, particularly with regard to the sustainability of products and their points of origin.

MC356 Arrangements would be reviewed for EU Structural Funds and other funds to promote economic diversification in fisheries dependent areas.

Marine Protected Areas 

Background

MC360 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are increasingly used as a tool to protect marine ecosystems. Frequently these are highly zoned areas of the sea with different activities being permitted in different areas, and a relatively small percentage (if any) being totally protected from damaging activities. Whilst these can be useful, no-take marine reserves, in which all forms of extractive activity are banned, have been found to be much more effective at restoring both biodiversity and species abundance, and additionally have economic benefits through tourism and the “over-spill” effect, which sees fishing grounds around reserves replenished. Currently around the UK, and internationally, less than 1% of the seas enjoy full protection.

Policies

MC361 The Green Party will continue to work within existing legislation to fully implement a large-scale, ecologically coherent network of MPAs within the UK’s seas as soon as possible. 

MC362 As part of this network, 30% of the UK’s exclusive economic zone should be established as no-take reserves closed to commercial fishing and other extractive activities. These reserves should be properly representative, and always include at least 30 percent of the most productive and sensitive areas, such as spawning grounds. These proposals would be developed in collaboration with scientists, the public and stakeholders. The boundaries and existence of such reserves would be open to periodic renewal.

MC363 Increasing the protection of Britain’s seas will be beneficial to the fishing community in the long term, as stocks increase and profitable species start to return in high numbers. However, the Green Party recognises that in the short term fishermen may face difficulties. We would seek to enable a just transition for the local fishing community, and would work with them to ensure that the creation of MPAs, and particularly no-take marine reserves, do not damage their livelihoods (see MC354).

MC364 Internationally, the Green Party would promote the establishment of a large-scale comprehensive system of MPAs in seas outside of national jurisdiction. Additionally we would support and encourage other nations looking to establish MPAs within their own waters. Globally, we will advocate high levels of protection, with 30% of the world’s oceans completely closed to extractive activities, and with a shift away from large-scale industrial fishing to locally-based sustainable models.

Off-shore Wind and Marine Energy

Background

MC370 Waters surrounding the UK are prime sites for overseas investment to the offshore renewable energy industry. Offshore wind, wave and tidal stream projects will be encouraged in order to meet carbon emission targets and secure our energy supplies. Marine energy projects require capital if the UK is to retain its global technical and market lead and attract private sector investment, which would allow the industry to generate a significant percentage of our energy needs as well as creating jobs.

MC371 Marine oil and gas exploration and production result in inputs of oil and hazardous chemicals, the mobilisation of natural radionuclides (radiation hazards) and trace metals, (potentially toxic to marine life), and disruption to life on the sea bed and to fisheries and are therefore hugely damaging to the marine environment. In addition, the burning of oil and gas are major contributors to climate change, and therefore their continued exploitation is unsustainable. 

Policies

MC372 The development of renewable forms of energy provision, such as off-shore wind and marine energy (wave and tidal stream power) will be a priority. This will be achieved through:

a) The development of capital and revenue support mechanisms (including both direct financial investment as well as the issuance of Renewables Obligation Certificates or Feed-in Tariffs) in close consultation with UK trade associations;

b) Empowering the UK Marine Energy Programme Board to engage directly at ministerial and official level with departments responsible for energy, climate change, business, and crucially HM Treasury, regarding public investment and economic development from the sector;

c) Ensuring that the UK Green Investment Bank provides debt finance and performance bonds to offshore wind farms and near-commercial scale marine energy arrays that would otherwise not be able to raise debt finance and/or performance bonds from commercial banks;

d) Investigating ways in which marine energy infrastructure could be co-located with conservation sites, to ensure both the protection of marine biodiversity and provision of sustainable energy.

MC373 Prior to the development of any marine energy structure an Environmental Impact Assessment must be carried out. This will include the evaluation of environmental risks of seabed subsidence and the traffic of vessels to and from the platforms, that may result in environmental degradation, and plans for dismantling and disposal of rigs and associated equipment.

MC374 The Green Party will put in place retrospective conditions within the licensing agreements for oil and gas blocks which would allow the closure of individual wells, if as a result of ageing and the consequent increases in the volume of total pollution, loads could not be handled by the treatment/reception facilities. However, the possibility of using old installations for research purposes or as artificial reefs should also be considered.

MC375 All British marine energy and offshore wind companies will be required to meet at least the same standards as required in British waters when they are operating elsewhere in the world.

MC376 We currently know relatively little about the sea bed, except that its biology is extremely diverse and its physics can be stormy. Therefore, installations should not be dumped or abandoned at sea. As a matter of principle, operators should expect when constructing an installation, that they will be later responsible for completely removing it.

MC377 Much tighter environmental controls will be applied to the oil and gas industry where it still exists, and we will require all oil and gas companies to establish an integrated Environmental Management System.

MC378 The Green Party is in favour of harnessing the potential of tidal energy at estuaries subject to environmental and sustainability criteria being met. See EN213 for more information.

Dredging and Coastal Erosion

Background

MC380 Coastal erosion is escalating rapidly, in part due to global warming induced sea level rise, but particularly in areas where aggregate dredging has taken place offshore. Here beaches, dunes, soft sand cliffs, coastal housing, wildlife sites, and once effective sea defences are being lost to the detriment of the environment, , coastal housing, the holiday and fishing industries, coastal routes and paths, and valuable agricultural land. Nuclear power stations are at risk of being undermined and the economy of seaside resorts is threatened.

Policies

MC381 We need independent and fair assessment of the coastal erosive impact of offshore dredging, the re-instatement of money taken from the sea defence budget and protective systems based upon the needs of people and the environment rather than corporate profit. Further, that modern sustainable and effective sea-defences be employed rather than those currently dependent upon building beaches already eroded by 'recharge', i.e. using even more sand dredged from the offshore seabed.

MC382 Damage to the sea bed from drag trawling damages the sea bed fauna refuges. Exploitation of the marine seabed sand and gravel used for aggregate requires termination, first in stopping the export of such material and secondly in abandoning the activity altogether. Although only parts of the seabed suffer deep dredging, those areas targeted are those offering a high concentration of 'sharp' cohesive sand and gravel ,as this material provides the best cement basis. But these are the very seabed areas offering the best habitat, feeding grounds, camouflage and spawning grounds of fish.

MC383 Offshore aggregate dredging strips up to 5 metres of the seabed surface, destroying all flora and fauna leaving a marine desert that fails to recover even after 20 years. The wash off of the unusable finer material serves to smother the seabed in down tide areas to suffocating the life over a far wider area than that dredged.

MC384 Offshore Aggregate Dredging further serves to create shoreline erosion by deepening the seabed so creating larger more erosive waves and by increasing the beach slope leading to the transport of beach material from the shoreline to the deepened voids brought about by the offshore removal. With rising sea levels, a 25% reduction is sea defence funding and the Shoreline Management Plan dictating failure to defend vital shoreline habitats, serious losses of housing, businesses, shoreline industries and wildlife habitats are now coming about due to this enhanced erosion 

Shipping and Ports

Background

MC390 Shipping is a potentially low-impact method of conveying goods and people over large distances. However, both the increase in shipping and the use of highly polluting fuel means that shipping has a high environmental impact, and is an important source of marine pollution and carbon emissions.

Policies

MC391 The Green Party supports the use of shipping over more carbon-intensive methods of long-distance transport for the necessary movement of goods.

MC392 Current shipping practices are not however environmentally sustainable, as the use of cheap “bunker fuel” – a viscous and highly contaminated form of crude oil – makes shipping one of the most significant forms of marine pollution. The Green Party would strengthen regulations within British waters and would work towards better regulations and improved enforcement for international shipping through the International Maritime Organisation.

MC393 The offshore transfer of oil from tankers at sea should cease due to the higher oil pollution risk during such operations. Transfer should instead take place in harbours equipped with booms and other safety equipment.

MC394 Freight shipping has increased substantially over recent years, due to an increase in global trade. In line with the Green Party’s policies on globalisation (see IP103), we would aim to see the quantity of goods shipped to the UK decline as the country moves towards a more localised economy.

See TR430 – TR474 for more information on our shipping and ports policies.

Marine Pollution

Background

MC400 Despite increasing legislation aimed at preventing the dumping of waste at sea, pollution of UK beaches and seas has shown no appreciable decrease. Waste enters the marine environment and is deposited on beaches from a variety of sources, including direct littering on land, lost or discarded fishing gear, illegal dumping and discharges from sewage. Rivers and streams can also carry waste and pollution into coastal waters. Not only is marine and coastal pollution dangerous to human health, but plastic pollution in particular is associated with high mortality amongst many marine mammal, bird and reptile species.

For overarching principles, please see the Pollution chapter. For more on agricultural run-off, see FA643 and CY525. 

Policies

MC401 Traditional drainage results in poor water quality in watercourses, often highly polluted with oils, toxic metals and organic material, which eventually discharges into the sea. The Green Party would require Sustainable Drainage Systems  to be installed in all new developments and will phase in their installation to replace traditional systems in existing developments. 

MC402 The Green Party will encourage water companies to move away from short-term “end of pipe” solutions and look to longer-term sustainable solutions. A higher priority should be given to improving sewage treatment and to keeping it separate from non-biodegradable materials, like heavy metals, so that it can be returned to the land (see PL429). The practise of discharging sewage and waste that has not been fully treated (non-tertiary treated) into the marine environment should be halted, with such effluents treated in the same way as that discharged into rivers.

MC403 Carbon dioxide emissions not only warm the atmosphere but are also absorbed by the oceans creating carbonic acid, a process known as “ocean acidification”, which kills coral reefs and threatens marine species. See the Climate Change chapter for our policies on reducing emissions from greenhouse gases.

MC404 We will ban dumping of hazardous substances (including drill cuttings and contaminated water) to the sea and atmosphere. We will consider the feasibility and environmental implications of returning production water, cleaned of its chemicals additives, to its original sub-seabed geological formations (see NR318). We will set a deadline for the phase-out of inputs of hazardous substances to the sea from the off-shore activities.

MC405 Waste Framework Directives are in place within the EU but they are complex and often not enforced. The Green Party would push for implementation and stronger enforcement of existing directives, as well as demanding higher penalties for those who pollute the marine environment, ensuring that polluters pay a cost commensurate with the damage they have inflicted.

MC406 The Green Party will formulate coherent marine litter action plans and appoint a body to oversee this work. Additionally, enforcement of current domestic laws regarding the proper disposal of litter and waste from land and aquatic environments would be enabled and Port Waste Reception Facilities would be extended to include fishing vessels.

MC407 Both plastic production and waste must be minimised. The Green Party will ban the distribution of plastic bags by retailers, and will introduce incentives for manufacturers and retailers to reduce the quantity of plastic packaging that they use.

MC408 Redesign of plastic products, both at the individual polymer level and product structure, is needed to reduce use and promote reuse Recovery of plastics through recycling should be the norm. The Green Party will commission research to investigate plastics redesign as well as the possibility for energy recovery from plastics.

Recreation

Background

MC410 Holidays and leisure time spent outdoors in Britain has numerous health, environmental, social and also economic benefits for individuals and the country as a whole. The coast and beaches in particular hold a special attraction for recreation and leisure, and many people find spending time by the sea an important way to relieve stress. 

Policies

MC411 Beaches and coastal areas should conform to the highest standards of water quality and shoreline cleanliness, with an aim to achieve and maintain 100% Blue Flag beaches around the coast of England and Wales.

MC412 The Green Party would promote the use of wind and electricity-powered vessels over those which are highly energy intensive and use fossil fuels (see TM062).

MC413 With regard to recreational fishing, the Green Party will seek to end the practice known as 'live baiting' (where live fish are used as bait for other fish) as soon as possible. Barbed hooks and double and triple hooks will also be banned, because of the damage and distress caused to fish by their use.

MC414 The Green Party notes the (often fatal) injury caused to other wildlife by discarding lead shot/weights and will make the use of any lead in angling illegal. 

MC415 Discarded fishing tackle presents a risk to marine wildlife and is costly to clean it up. We will encourage anglers to use best practice with regard to the disposal of tackles, and will introduce fines for those breaching best standards. An accreditation scheme for angling clubs will be introduced to bring all clubs up to best practice. 

MC416 A National Code of Conduct for anglers will be drawn up after discussion with interested parties (including angling clubs and associations, environmentalists and the Environmental Agency) that can be displayed on angling licenses and also prominently displayed in other appropriate places, including accredited angling clubs.

N.B. This Policy deals with saltwater marine and coastal issues. For Green Party policies on rivers, waterways and freshwater systems see CY507, CY525, TM054, and TR400-415.

Contents

Introduction MC100

Policy Principles MC200

Marine Governance MC300

UK Overseas Territories MC310

Fisheries MC320 Marine Aquaculture MC340

Sustainable Livelihoods MC350

Marine Protected Areas MC360

Off-shore Wind & Marine Energy MC370

Shipping & Ports MC380

Dredging and Coastal Erosion MC390

Marine Pollution MC400

Recreation MC410

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