Lewis Pugh completed his ‘Long Swim’ today, swimming a total of 330 miles, the length of the English Channel from Land’s End to Dover.
The reason behind the challenge was to raise awareness of the necessity of better marine protection and he continues to highlight the planned dredging of the Goodwin Sands as a prime example.
Pugh wants at least 30% of the world’s oceans to be protected by 2030. The current figure stands at around 4%.
Among those to welcome Lewis at Shakespeare Beach today was the Environment Secretary Michael Gove MP and members of Goodwin Sands SOS.
Lewis has called on Michael Gove to intervene in the Goodwin Sands issue.
Goodwin Sands is a perfect example of what I’m fighting for. It has been recognised for its biodiversity, its been set aside by government as a marine conservation zone and what we have is a company allowed to dredge the seabed and destroy the biodiversity marine life depends on.
Why is it that the economy also seems to be more important than the environment?
I’ll be asking the government to review this decision. If we carry on there’ll be nothing left for our children and grandchildren.
It makes a mockery of marine conservation in the UK.Lewis Pugh
He said the Goodwin Sands decision was only looking for short-term problems.
Campaigners Joanna Thomson and Fiona Punter were on hand in the rain to pass Michael Gove a letter asking him to review the decision to allow the dredging by Dover Harbour Board. They also were interviewed during the day by Sky News’ Anna Botting.
Sky News’ science correspondent Thomas Moore has been reporting from the swim and appears to have been struck by the message.
There are 300,000 square miles of sea around the UK, but just three square miles are fully protected.
No drilling, no fishing, no exploitation whatsoever.
The rest of the Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) are paper parks.
They look great on a map. But they offer little protection to marine life.
Take Goodwin Sands in the English Channel.
It’s one of the MCZs announced by the government on World Oceans Day in June.
The shallow gravel bank is an important habitat for sand eels, blue mussels and the rare Thornback ray.
It’s also one of only two haul-out sites in the south east of England for seals.
Yet Dover Harbour Board will be allowed to dredge three million tonnes of aggregate from the area to expand the port, tearing up the seabed that supports such a complex web of life.
What kind of marine protection is that?Sky News Correspondent, Thomas Moore, from https://news.sky.com/story/sky-views-come-diving-mr-gove-and-see-the-state-of-the-oceans-11479557
Thomas Moore made a special report on the Goodwin Sands, including Joanna Thomson which you can view here: https://news.sky.com/video/lewis-pugh-uk-must-protect-marine-habitats-11484442
There is a further interview with Lewis covering the Goodwin Sands on the video on the following link – watch from 1:15. http://www.itv.com/news/meridian/2018-08-29/record-breaking-lewis-pugh-tells-all-after-330-mile-swim-from-cornwall-to-dover/