The 8th June marked World Oceans Day, a day for global recognition of the importance of the oceans and marine conservation collaboration. As I am particularly interested in marine conservation, I was pleased to lodge a Parliamentary motion celebrating this. You can see which MSPs support it here.
This year’s theme is Our Oceans, Our Future, and the conservation-action focus is on preventing marine litter. A report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation stated that at least eight million tonnes of plastic leaks into the oceans each year, the equivalent of one truckload every minute. This is one reason why Scottish Labour are in favour of introduced a Deposit Return Scheme. If appropriately tailored to Scottish circumstances, this scheme could significantly reduce the amount of litter that ends up in our marine environment.
The other threats to the marine environment are caused by unsustainable fishing practices and climate change raising sea levels. We must acknowledge the dependence on the sea that many coastal communities have and the importance of this for their livelihoods and to future generations.
There is a need for more research into blue carbon as climate mitigation, and this is something I have pushed the Scottish Government on repeatedly in my role as Scottish Labour Spokesperson for the Environment.
Scotland has made good progress towards protecting the marine environment, and I am delighted to celebrate the fascinating beauty of the seas and oceans in Scotland and around the world.