Ban supertrawlers from UK Marine Protected Areas

An open letter to George Eustice, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs


Dear Secretary of State,

With Britain’s departure from the Common Fisheries Policy on the horizon, we call on you to ensure that protection of the environment and the livelihoods of the UK’s coastal communities are the top priority when Britain becomes an independent coastal state. As a first step, this means properly protecting our most important and sensitive marine areas, and managing our fisheries sustainably.

At present, supertrawlers, industrial fishing vessels longer than 100 metres, spend thousands of hours every year fishing in marine areas that are meant to be protected. They also dominate the UK’s unfair system of quota distribution, with sustainable local fishers, who form the vast majority of the UK’s fishing fleet, missing out.

As you have recognised, strong marine protection safeguards vulnerable ocean ecosystems, and has significant benefits in restoring fish populations in local waters, which can benefit coastal fishing communities. 

On the world stage, the Government has championed protecting 30% of global oceans by 2030, and spearheaded the Global Ocean Alliance, which is an admirable step in the right direction. However, allowing industrial supertrawlers and other destructive fishing vessels to fish inside the UK’s most sensitive marine ecological areas undermines the Government’s vision and leadership.

Using the Government’s renewed powers outside of the Common Fisheries Policy, we urge you to ban destructive industrial fishing vessels like supertrawlers from fishing in the UK’s Marine Protected Areas. A ban would prove that this government is serious about marine protection, and pave the way for a network of fully or highly protected Marine Protected Areas off limits to all destructive industrial activities, covering at least 30% of the UK’s waters by 2030.

The Government must seize this historic opportunity to increase the health of our oceans, and support the communities that depend on them.

List of signatories

Public figures

Gillian Anderson

Alison Sudol

Alison Steadman

David de Rothschild

Michael Elwyn

Sir Ranulph Fiennes

Colin Dack

Michael Palin

Joanna Lumley

Robert Linsday

Scientists and NGOs

Dr Emma Cavan, Imperial College London

Will McCallum, Greenpeace UK

Harriet Allen, Marine Biologist

Charles Clover, Blue Marine Foundation

MPs (85 total)

  1. Apsana Begum, Poplar and Limehouse
  2. David Linden, Glasgow East
  3. Wera Hobhouse, Bath, Liberal Democrat
  4. Jonathan Djanogly, Huntingdon, Conservative
  5. Johnny McNally, Falkirk, SNP
  6. Victoria Atkins, Louth and Horncastle, Conservative
  7. Kevin Hollinrake, Thirsk and Malton, Conservative
  8. David Rutley, Macclesfield, Conservative
  9. David Morris, Morecambe and Lunesdale, Conservative
  10. Valerie Vaz, Walsall South, Labour
  11. Debbie Abrahams, Oldham East and Saddleworth, Labour
  12. Liz Saville Roberts, Dwyfor Meirionnydd, Plaid Cymru
  13. Patricia Gibson, North Ayrshire and Arran, SNP
  14. Sarah Dines, Derbyshire Dales, Conservative
  15. Mhairi Black, Paisley and Renfrewshire South, SNP
  16. Jacob Young, Redcar, Conservative
  17. Diane Abbott, Hackney North and Stoke Newington, Labour
  18. Rachel Reeves, Leeds West, Labour
  19. Alan Whitehead, Southampton, Test, Labour
  20. Clive Lewis, Norwich South, Labour
  21. Tracy Brabin, Batley and Spen, Labour
  22. Neale Hanvey, Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, SNP
  23. Kim Johnson, Liverpool, Riverside, Labour
  24. Sarah Olney, Richmond Park, Lib Dem
  25. Munira Wilson, Twickenham, Lib Dem
  26. Damian Collins, Folkestone and Hythe, Conservatives
  27. Simon Jupp, East Devon, Conservatives
  28. Kevin Brennan, Labour
  29. Julian Lewis, Independent
  30. Liam Fox, North Somerset, Conservative
  31. Andrew Bridgen, North West Leicestershire, Conservatie
  32. Stephen McPartland, Stevenage, Conservative
  33. Craig Mackinlay, South Thanet, Conservative
  34. Scott Benton, Blackpool South, Conservative
  35. Shaun Bailey, West Bromwich West, Conservative
  36. Ian Byrne, Liverpool, West Derby, Labour
  37. Lisa Nandy, Wigan, Labour
  38. Paul Maskey, Belfast West, Sinn Féin
  39. Stephen Farry, North Down, Alliance Party of Northern Ireland
  40. Ben Everitt, Milton Keynes North, Conservative
  41. John Howell, Henley, Conservatie
  42. Yvonne Fovargue, Makerfield, Labour
  43. Clive Betts, Sheffield South East, Labour
  44. Drew Hendry, Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, SNP
  45. Royston Smith, Southampton, Itchen, Conservative
  46. Caroline Lucas, Brighton, Pavilion, Greens
  47. Henry Smith, Crawley, Conservative
  48. James Gray, North Wiltshire, Conservative
  49. Richard Burgon, Leeds East, Labour
  50. Craig Williams, Montgomeryshire, Conservative
  51. Andrew Gwynne, Denton and Reddish, Labour
  52. Stewart Hosie, Dundee East, SNP
  53. Jeremy Corbyn, Islington North, Labour
  54. Carla Lockhart, Upper Bann, DUP
  55. Hywel Williams, Arfon, Plaid Cymru
  56. Siobhain McDonagh, Mitcham and Morden, Labour
  57. Tony Lloyd, Rochdale, Labour
  58. Paul Girvan, South Antrim, DUP
  59. Ben Lake, Ceredigion, Plaid Cymru
  60. Christopher Chope, Christchurch, Conservative
  61. Angela Crawley, Lanark and Hamilton East, SNP
  62. Graham Stringer, Blackley and Broughton, Labour
  63. Jon Cruddas, Dagenham and Rainham, Labour
  64. Claire Hanna, Belfast South, Labour
  65. Barry Gardiner, Brent North, Labour
  66. Maria Eagle, Garston and Halewood, Labour 
  67. Mike Hill, Hartlepool, Labour 
  68. John McDonnell, Hayes and Harlington, Labour
  69. Mike Penning, Hemel Hampstead,Conservative
  70. Desmond Swayne, New Forest West, Conservative
  71. Lee Rowley, North East Derbyshire, Conservative
  72. Roger Gale, North Thanet, Conservative 
  73. Chris Bryant, Rhondda, Labour
  74. Bill Esterson, Sefton Central, Labour
  75. Andrew Selous, South West Bedfordshire, Conservative
  76. Tim Farron, Westmorland and Lonsdale, Lib Dem
  77. Steve Brine, Winchester, Conservative
  78. Jamie Stone, Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, Lib Dem
  79. Tonia Antoniazzi, Gower, Labour 
  80. Catherine West, Hornsey and Wood Green, Labour
  81. Peter Kyle, Hove, Labour 
  82. Cat Smith, Lancaster and Fleetwood, Labour
  83. Ian Levy, Blyth Valley, Conservative 
  84. Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Streatham, Labour
  85. Kenny MacAskill, East Lothian, SNP