12th February 2013
Aquarists at The SEA LIFE London Aquarium issued a stark warning about the potential fate of British marine life by holding an underwater funeral today.
The sombre procession took place in the impressive shark reef display as aquarists dressed as pallbearers bore the coffin of ‘British Fish’ and laid a fishbone wreath at a watery grave. SEA LIFE centres nationwide are campaigning for the Government to establish an effective network of Marine Conservation Zones in British waters to safeguard the future of seriously threatened species like the Undulate ray and the Basking shark.
“We want to make people aware that it isn’t just exotic fish in far away coral reefs that are endangered by overfishing, pollution and urban coastal developments,” explains Deputy Curator Jamie Oliver, who was one of the pall bearers. “Many British fish are extremely vulnerable and some species are close to extinct. Some scientists estimate we could lose the majority of our fish stocks by 2050 unless we take action to protect these threatened species, like the Undulate ray, NOW. The Government is simply doing too little and if that doesn’t change quickly we can wave goodbye to some wonderful British fish.”
In July 2012 scientific advisors said 127 Marine Conservation Zones were needed by 2014 with an immediate need for 59 high-risk sites to be protected immediately. To date only 31 have been agreed by the Government.
The public can help protect the future of British sea life by signing the Ocean Force – Defenders of the Deep petition which will be delivered to Westminster on 25th February. Find out more at http://www.mcsuk.org/.
As well as public education and lobbying, SEA LIFE has also initiated an Undulate ray ID tagging campaign, to try and establish a healthy captive breeding stock. So far 20 mature rays have been fitted with microchips and the same will be done with every offspring, once they reach maturity, so that in future it can be ensured breeding pairs do not come from the same genetic lines.
Guests to the SEA LIFE London Aquarium over half term will be able to celebrate British Fish during Brit Fish Week with special talks and activities from 18th to 24th February.