Why conservation matters"People have made unprecedented changes to marine ecosystems in recent years to meet growing demands for food. These changes have helped to improve the lives of billions, but at the same time have weakened nature's ability to continue to deliver. It is inevitable that the pressure on ecosystems will increase in coming decades unless people's attitudes and actions change."
This statement is valid both globally and locally and underpins the collaborative work by fishermen, conservationists, scientists and regulators that led to the establishment of the Lyme Bay Fisheries and Conservation Reserve. It is useful to realise that fishermen and conservationists are similar in their aspirations in that they both want a clean and productive marine environment.
It was only through a collaborative effort and purpose to change the attitudes of the past that made the establishment of the Lyme Bay Reserve possible.
The future of fishing in Lyme Bay, as well as elsewhere depends on the ability to harvest in a sustainable way. In turn, the bedrock of this sustainability is the maintenance of a healthy ecosystem. And here lies the challenge, getting the balance right between environmental protection and fishing. In Lyme Bay this challenge is being addressed by taking into account the activities of people and also the welfare of the environment. This is called ecosystem based management.
Lyme Bay is now ahead of the game in demonstrating that by using ecosystem based management, multi-use marine protected areas can work; can deliver sustainable fisheries, can protect and conserve reef habitats and flora and fauna. This management method, this model, could be adapted and implemented in other marine protected areas around the UK coast with equal success.