Danish politicians at sea
Author: Christina Abel
Date: September 5, 2013
A little while ago, a number of Danish politicians, including the Minister for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries, Karen Hækkerup, were invited to Helsingør, Denmark, to learn about the unique environment of the Sound, and to discuss the threats currently facing the sea. Oceana together with WWF, Greenpeace and the Danish Society for Nature Conservation hosted this event to put the marine environment on the political agenda; an environment which is easily forgotten as its life often are out of sight – hidden by the dark water.
The event was an opportunity for local and national Danish politicians to see the marine flora and fauna with their own eyes. The day included a guided tour at the Sound Aquarium, as well as a boat trip where bottom samples revealed the unique benthic fauna found in the Sound. They had the chance to touch a star fish, and meet a hermit crab. Jens Peder Jeppesen, manager of the aquarium, spoke to them about the marine species and habitats found in the Sound, and coastal fisherman Søren Jacobsen explained the difficult situation that coastal fishermen in Denmark are facing nowadays. The NGOs took the opportunity to educate them about current threats and the state of the sea, and provided them with possible solutions.
By the end of the day we gave Minister Karen Hækkerup and the other politicians a report and a proposal for a marine action plan, which included suggestions to establish large marine protected areas (MPAs) to protect sea life, good management plans for existing MPAs. We are also urging politicians to minimize destructive fishing practices, like bottom trawling, and to prioritize nature restoration. It is now our hope that they will take their new knowledge with them in their future political work. We’ll be there every step of the way to remind them if they don’t!