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Government to carry out major environmental assessment of UK seas

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An extremely rare breed of seahorse has been discovered off the coast of Devon. Photograph: Russ Shears/National Marine Aquarium Defra prioritises post-Brexit fisheries plan and protection of UK’s coldwater reefs, promising data will be made publicly available online An assessment of the seas around the UK will carried out by the government and made available online, the Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has promised, with a view to cleaning up and improving the inshore environment. Thérèse Coffey, a Defra minister, said that by the end of this year “a major assessment of how our seas have moved towards good environmental status” would be completed. This assessment, which would be accompanied by an online tool that the general public could use to examine progress on the marine environment and the pressures it is under, is expected to inform future marine policy. Licensing and planning systems for coastal and...
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UN poised to move ahead with landmark treaty to protect high seas

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The world’s oceans are set for a long overdue boost in the coming days as the United Nations votes for the first time on a planned treaty to protect and regulate the high seas. The waters outside national maritime boundaries – which cover half of the planet’s surface – are currently a free-for-all that has led to devastating overfishing and pollution. But after more than five years of negotiations, UN members are poised to agree to draw up a new rulebook by 2020, which could establish conservation areas, catch quotas and scientific monitoring. “This is the biggest opportunity to change the status quo we have ever had,” said Will McCallum, the head of oceans at Greenpeace. “It could change everything.” A debate on whether to move ahead with a High Seas Treaty has been tabled before the end of the year at the UN headquarters in New York. The motion...
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