UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove leads delegation of MPs committed to marine protection

Tristan Blue Belt plans presented to MPs

Report and photos from Tristan Government UK Representative Chris Carnegy

On March 14th, the key UK campaigners for the 'Blue Belt' agenda gathered in the Churchill Room in the Houses of Parliament.

The event brought a chance for key NGOs and parliamentarians to underline their commitment to marine conservation. Jim Kerr and I both attended on behalf of the Tristan government. There were speeches by three MPs and by the chair of the Blue Marine campaign group, and a keynote address by extreme swimmer and UN Oceans Patron Lewis Pugh.

Environment Minister Michael Gove in discussion
with Tristan Government Representatives Chris Carnegy and Jim Kerr

Angela Smith MP noted that ‘huge credit’ should go to the people of Tristan da Cunha for the progress towards a locally-led marine protection regime. Richard Benyon MP underlined the key role of island communities in delivering on the Blue Belt.

Blue Marine chairman Charles Clover issued a challenge to the UK government to deliver Blue Belt funding to island communities, not simply to UK agencies.

The event also received a visit from the UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove, who thanked all involved in the Great British Oceans campaign. This gave us a chance to thank him personally for the £1.8m contribution his department has pledged towards the restoration of Gough Island. It was pleasing to find that he was already familiar with the project.

Michael Gove addresses the meeting
with a King Penguin apparently listening intently!