Sign up and help Lyme Bay protect marine wildlife

PUBLISHED: 15:45 06 August 2015 | UPDATED: 15:45 06 August 2015

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A charity dedicated to creating hotspot areas across the UK to protect dolphins, whales and sharks has named Lyme Bay as one of the special sites.

The Wildlife Trusts’ proposal for 17 protected sites across England and Wales aims to safeguard designated areas, where these animals are known to gather to feed, breed and socialise.

The charity is appealing for help with its campaign, urging people to sign an e-petition to take to the Government.

The Wildlife Trusts wants to change the law that currently states there is just a single, protected area for the ocean giants in English and Welsh seas. It is campaigning for 17 protected areas around England and Wales to become ‘megafauna hotspots’.

It hopes increasing protected areas will boost marine wildlife and its habitats.

The charity’s appeal for help comes in the same week a fishing vessel spotted a rare, seven-foot-long giant leatherback turtle in waters off Lyme Bay.

A spokesperson for the charity said: “There are virtually no protected areas for whales, dolphins and basking sharks in English and Welsh seas.

“After many years of campaigning by us and others, the UK government has finally begun protecting areas at sea so that marine wildlife and habitats can begin to recover from decades of damage, decline and over-exploitation.

“It’s long overdue, but these new Marine Protected Areas only protect habitats and wildlife on the seabed.

“Unfortunately, our marine megafauna – the 29 species of whales, dolphins, porpoises and basking sharks regularly found around our coast - are still at risk from damaging activities and some species are in decline.

“The nutrient-rich places they need most for feeding, breeding and socialising are not protected; there are currently no areas of English waters protected for them, and only one in Wales.”

The spokesperson added: “The whales, dolphins, porpoises and basking sharks that live around our coast are some of the UK’s most spectacular - and at risk - wildlife.

“But, currently, there is just a single, protected area for our ocean giants in English and Welsh seas. It’s time to change this.”

● More information, and the petition, is at www.wildlifetrusts.org/oceangiants

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