Ocean - sea - unsplash

Manifesto for our Seas

We're calling on the next UK Government to recognise the importance of our seas in their marine conservation policy, which play a vital role in the fight against climate change. 

Ocean benefits

As an island nation, our seas are integral to our history and shared future. The natural world, including our ocean, is the bedrock of our health and livelihoods, and is one of our biggest allies in tackling climate change and its effects.

The benefits we enjoy from our seas - including biodiversity, carbon storage, energy and flood defence - have been valued to be worth at least £211 billion.

However, despite the vital role that our ocean plays, comparably little attention has been paid by many policymakers to ocean matters.

We're working to change this.

Our marine conservation policies

Our Manifesto for our Seas sets out an ambitious and bold agenda for ocean protection and recovery, cementing our position as global leaders on the world stage.

Ahead of the next General Election, this twelve-point policy framework addresses ocean pollution, promotes ocean recovery and sustainable fisheries, and delivers sustainable ocean investment.

Sustainable ocean investment

  • Deliver a sustainable blue economy through dramatically scaling up public investment and setting regulatory frameworks to stimulate private investment.
  • Marine planning prioritises the restoration and enhancement of the marine environment for current and future generations.
  • Fully account for blue carbon in UK carbon budgeting and include the marine environment in our Nationally Determined Contribution to the Paris Climate Agreement.
Sand eels in seagrass meadow

Sand eels in seagrass meadow

Credit: Heather Hamilton

More Marine Protected Areas

  • Support and incentivise the fishing industry to significantly reduce fishing damage in marine protected areas that protect the seabed and other vulnerable seabed areas.
  • Designate areas of enhanced protection that offer the strictest possible environmental management, prohibiting damaging activities, to cover at least 10% of UK waters.
  • Maintain support for the Blue Belt programme by committing at least £50 million from 2026 for the following five years to continue to protect more than 4 million km2 of ocean across the UK Overseas Territories.
Octopus on seabed, Scotland - SCOTLAND: The Big Picture

Octopus on seabed

Credit: SCOTLAND: The Big Picture

Reduce pollution

  • End all discharges of untreated sewage into the environment except under true emergency conditions or exceptional rainfall.
  • Support a shift to an economy based on reuse that includes introducing a comprehensive Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) for all drinks containers, including glass.
  • Protect the health of humans, wildlife and the ocean from damage from persistent chemicals, in particular by banning PFAS (forever chemicals) from uses where there are clear alternatives.
Sewage in the sea

Sewage in the sea

Credit: Shutterstock: Andrei Metelev

Sustainable fisheries

  • Achieve sustainable fisheries alongside the restoration of the marine environment and set catch limits within scientifically recommended sustainable levels.
  • Increase fisheries management budget to modernise vital infrastructure to support sustainable practices, including the roll out of remote electronic monitoring with cameras onboard all vessels.
  • Enable a transition to sustainable and innovative low-carbon commercial fisheries and aquaculture.
mackerel swimming - scotland - Cathy Lewis - RS34136

Mackerel swimming in ocean

Credit: Cathy Lewis

We're urging politicians to prioritise the ocean

Will you join us?

Get in touch

We're working for a cleaner, better protected and healthier ocean for everyone to enjoy, and so, we call on all Parties to act to address the crisis facing our ocean in their marine conservation policy.

For more information please contact our public affairs team on fiona.thomas@mcsuk.org or brendon.queiroz@mcsuk.org