Ocean Treaty

Thank you for contacting me about ocean protection. 

Protecting the environment is one of my top priorities in my work as an MP and  I am part of CEN, the Conservative Environment Network. I regularly swim in the sea during the summer months when I am not in Parliament.

I am very pleased that the UK is a global leader in protecting our seas, the ocean and marine life, working with counterparts both in the UK and overseas.
Almost 200 countries agreed a deal to protect nature at COP15 in December 2022, including a global commitment to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 and also to protect 30 per cent of land and oceans by 2030 and the UK announced nearly £30 million to support developing countries to deliver the "30 by 30" target. In addition, in March 2023, UN Member States agreed the High Seas Treaty, which aims to place 30 per cent of the seas into protected areas by 2030. 

Further, 374 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) protect 38% of UK waters which are all subject to planning and licensing regimes to ensure they are protected from harmful activities. The Government’s Environmental Improvement Plan (EIP) sets the country on a path to deliver an improved marine environment and halt the decline in biodiversity which benefits us all. As set out in the EIP, the Government has a statutory target to have 70 per cent of designated features in MPAs in a favourable condition by 2042, with the remainder in a recovering condition.

The UK was pleased to be among the first signatories to the Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction Agreement when it opened for signature at the UN on 20 September 2023 and the Agreement was laid before Parliament for scrutiny on 16 October 2023. Work is in hand on the legislation and other measures needed to translate the detailed and complex provisions of the Agreement into UK law before the Agreement can ratified, which will be taken forward when parliamentary time allows.

Finally, the first Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) have come into force. These areas of the sea will benefit from the highest level of protection which will exclude all fishing, thus encouraging full recovery of marine ecosystems. For HPMAs to be successful, the Government will work with the fishing industry, other marine industries and sea users in designating, managing and monitoring them. 

Sadly, I will not be able to attend the debate on the 25th of April due to constituency engagements but I will follow this matter very closely. I will write to the Foreign Secretary on this matter as I agree that we need to protect pour Oceans.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.