Scotland's inshore seas have suffered significant declines through the 20th century, and we are now at a point where the fisheries that remain target the few shellfish remaining which are fished for in ways that are highly damaging to the integrity of the marine ecosystem, the seafloor itself. In 2015 a network of Marine Protected Areas was designated, and though this appeared to be a strong progressive move, covering around 20% of the sea, it has mostly resulted in paper parks. Over half of the sites have no management measures in place at all and sadly violation of the laws that do exist appears relatively common. Open Seas is working to shine a light on these illegal and damaging fishing practices and put pressure on the seafood industry and the government to improve the way the activities take place. The ultimate aspiration is for a healthy sea which allows for an expansion for sustainable alternatives and, by looking after essential fish habitat, for more productive, profitable and sustainable fisheries to recover.
About the Speaker
Phil is Head of Policy and Operations at the Open Seas Trust, a small charity working in Scotland to improve the health of the sea and the sustainability of our seafood. He has worked in conservation since his teens and done a range of jobs from eradicating rats on islands, to lobbying tuna commissions, to filling potholes in reserve car parks. He is passionate about delivering a better society, future and environment.