PROTECTING the seas is fundamental to the health not only of our environment, but the economy on which Yorkshire’s coastal communities depend.
And so the Environmental Audit Committee’s announcement of an inquiry into the future of our seas is wholeheartedly to be welcomed. Its chair, Wakefield MP Mary Creagh, is surely correct when she says we all have a duty to care for the health of the oceans.
The inquiry comes at a time of heightened awareness of the threats to the seas, and a public mood that is undoubtedly supportive of action to tackle them. Sir David Attenborough’s Blue Planet II television series highlighted the vast problem of plastic pollution, and the Government has already shown signs of responding with measures to reduce the amount of waste going into the oceans.
Pollution is only one of the threats that the oceans face. Climate change, over-fishing and increasingly acid waters all pose serious risks for the future, and tackling all of them will require determined action over not just years, but decades.
The effort, though, will be worth it. Yorkshire has the greatest possible interest in playing its part in safeguarding the marine environment. Clean seas are vital not only to the tourist economy of our seaside resorts, but to the fisheries that lie at the heart of the towns of the east coast.
Yorkshire’s maritime heritage is a proud one.
It is at the centre of the coast’s appeal to tourists, and still a bedrock of its economy.
That is underlined by Scarborough’s efforts to turn its renowned shellfish into a brand, potentially boosting the trade and also safeguarding the future of the harbour and fleet.
This is exactly the sort of resourceful and forward-thinking measure that will be necessary to creating a healthy, sustainable future for the seas.