Scilly’s Pristine Seas A Showcase For The UK Says Wildlife Trusts Leader

Joan Edwards for the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts

Joan Edwards from the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts

Scilly’s pristine marine environment is the ‘shop window’ for the rest of the UK and needs more funding for protection activities.

That’s the view of Joan Edwards, who runs the Living Seas programme for the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts, which includes our own islands’ group.

Joan was accompanying Fisheries Minister George Eustice during his visit on Tuesday, along with a delegation of representatives from other environmental organisations such as the World Wildlife Fund, RSPB and Marine Conservation Society.

Joan says they were keen for the Minister to see Scilly’s successful Marine Conservation Zone, one of the first in the country, so he could understand why areas such as this need to be protected.

She says we’re “incredibly lucky” that our islands’ marine life is thriving, something that isn’t the case elsewhere in the UK where they’re trying to reverse years of damage.

And the way that our MCZ was put in place, with agreement between all the different groups such as environmentalists and the fishing industry, is unique, says Joan.

She says it’s doubtful whether that could have happened anywhere else, because the community here appreciates how important the sea is to our tourist economy and it’s harder to get that point across on the mainland.

Joan wanted to use the Minister’s visit to press for more funding for protection activities.

She says the four wildlife organisations in the delegation represent 8 million members and that means the government takes notice.

The group are keen to see if more European money can be secured for Scilly to help fund conservation work.

That could benefit everyone on the islands by bringing in more tourists to what she believes is the ‘shop front’ on the UK’s marine environment.

People should come to Scilly and see our pristine waters, then go back and ask for the same at home, says Joan.