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Written by DIVE Magazine Monday, 25 February 2013 17:42
Hundreds of divers and other campaigners marched through London to protest over delays in marine protection.
The march was organised by the Marine Conservation Society and was led by TV chef Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall who told the crowds that it was 'vital' to protect the UK's seas.
The government has announced it is going to designate 31 Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) in English waters this year, rather than the 127 that conservationists and government scientists told ministers were needed to create a comprehensive network of protection.
Speaking outside Parliament, Fearnley-Whittingstall said: 'We're all here today because we believe in the sea. We know it has an incredible power to enhance our lives. There's a public consultation going on right now over the proposals of 127 new marine reserves around the UK. So far we're a little concerned that the government are only going to look at 31 of those in the coming year, and at this point they haven't given us a time frame for the rest.
'This is the sort of opportunity that may not come again. We might not have such a vital and appropriate timeframe as we've got right now to make real changes.
'If we leave it too much later, too much damage will have been done. It will be hard for a lot of the areas to recover.
'What's particularly worrying is there are 33 areas that scientists have assessed as being in urgent need of protection and recovery that have not been included in the areas to be considered.'
Divers joined the march after arriving at Westminster in RIBs.