Our five-step vision for the Solent

Surveying for seagrass on the Solent coast © Lianne de Mello

Yes, we can revitalise our seas, but first we need to overcome five specific challenges.

In just one year’s time the UK is set to leave the European Union. Before then, the Government must ensure there is a  clear vision for our marine environment.

Prompted by such urgency, The Wildlife Trusts were called upon to provide a blueprint that the UK Government can use to revolutionise the way we manage our seas. 

The resulting report, The Way Back to Living Seas, outlines how a
radical new approach in marine planning could bring the life in our
seas back to its former abundance.

The Way Back to Living Seas report
Report

The Way Back to Living Seas

Our report sets a challenge to the government to seize a unique chance for the UK to become a world leader in marine management, and bring back living seas.

Read more

The five key challenges

 

1. Protected areas

More Marine Conservation Zones in the Solent by 2019 will help create a valuable ‘Blue Belt’ around the British Isles. Sensitive wildlife habitats – like the Solent’s internationally important seagrass beds – must be fully protected across the region, allowing them to recover from past damage and continue to expand.

 

2. Sustainable fishing

Sustainable fishing can protect the Solent’s important bass nursery stocks, restore over-exploited fish such as skate and help migratory species like cuttlefish, salmon and eels to flourish. Restored oyster beds will filter millions of litres of water every day, making the Solent’s waters clearer.

 

3. Sustainable development

Regional Sea Plans should be the beating heart of a new UK Marine Strategy. This approach would incorporate all aspects of marine activity, including sustainable fishing areas, protected areas for  wildlife and areas where development may be acceptable. ‘Coastal realignment’ schemes, such as allowing natural erosion and flooding of land, will help our coast to adapt to sea level rise and ensure that important coastal habitats are not squeezed out.

 

4. Pollution eliminated

We can ensure single-use plastics are eliminated and other plastics are recycled or sent to secure landfill sites. Also, reducing sewage overflows and fertiliser inputs from the land will result in fewer toxic blooms of  microscopic algae, which harm other marine life.

 

5. Inspired people

We will continue to help people to understand the benefits of a rich marine environment, both in terms of economic security and their own wellbeing. We will encourage users of the Solent to make a difference for marine wildlife, for example, recreational boaters could use eco-friendly moorings instead of anchoring over sensitive habitats.