Our Sea Needs Our Say

I’m hosting a discussion about marine conservation and Lyme Bay
with Philip Hoare, George Monbiot and Callum Roberts
8 PM on 17th September, at The Electric Palace in Bridport.

£7 entrance.

See below for details.

Sixty square miles of Lyme Bay became the first Marine Protected Area of significant size in English waters in 2008. At the time it was hailed as a turning-point in our collective relationship with the sea.

Three of this country’s best writers about the sea will be in Bridport, five years on, to discuss how that relationship is going. Their debate will be informed by the current science and the best literature, past and present, on this subject. Indeed, how the literature relates to the science and the history will be central to our discussion.

The present government is trying to withdraw support from much of what was envisaged five years ago. Of the 127 reserves proposed by the Wildlife Trusts, it selected just 31. A ‘Marine Protected Area’ in Lyme Bay is quite compatible, apparently, with removing 600 tonnes of whelks per year, mainly for sale to the Far East. No Take Zones, tried and tested in New Zealand, Scotland and the Isle of Man, have been systematically kept out of the discussion in England.

You are invited to join us in Bridport for the debate which the official culture doesn’t want to have.


A few years ago, George Monbiot was persona non grata in seven countries and had a life sentence in absentia in Indonesia. He is now a bestselling author, columnist for the Guardian and Visiting Professor at the School of the Built Environment at Oxford Brookes University. In 1995 Nelson Mandela presented him with a United Nations Global 500 Award for outstanding environmental achievement. His books include Captive State: the Corporate Takeover of Britain, The Age of Consent: A Manifesto for a New World Order and Heat: How We Can Stop the Planet Burning. He has held visiting fellowships or professorships at the universities of Oxford (environmental policy), Bristol (philosophy), Keele (politics) and East London (environmental science). www.monbiot.com is one of the world’s highest-ranked comment sites. An entire chapter of his new book, Feral, is devoted to the subject of marine reserves.

Dr Philip Hoare was born, grew up and still lives in Southampton. He is the author of seven works of non-fiction, including biographies of Stephen Tennant and Noel Coward, Wilde’s Last Stand, Spike Island: The Memory of a Military Hospital, England’s Lost Eden: Adventures in a Victorian Utopia, and Leviathan Or, The Whale, which won the BBC Samuel Johnson Prize, 2009. His new book, The Sea Inside, was ‘Book of the Week’ in the Guardian, The Times, and the Mail on Sunday. He is Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Southampton. His work for the BBC includes Travels with Pevsner: Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, Arena: The Hunt for Moby-Dick, and Philip Hoare’s Guide to Whales. He is also co-curator of the Moby-Dick Big Read – www.mobydickbigread.com

Callum Roberts is the author of The Unnatural History of the Sea, a Washington Post Book of the Year and winner of the Rachel Carson Environment Book Award. A professor of marine conservation at the University of York, he has appeared in several documentaries, including America Before Columbus and The End of the Line, and is a board member of Seaweb, a U.S.-based environmental group. In his most recent book, Ocean of Life (2012), we get a panoramic tour beneath the sea. Roberts reveals the richness of marine life, and how it has altered over the centuries. Not only does he show how we are fishing our oceans to extinction, but crucially he also explains how this directly affects our lives on land. Ocean of Life should galvanise debate worldwide. Roberts shows how we can arrest and reverse the damage we are doing.

Copies of their most recent books (Feral, The Sea Inside and Ocean of Life) are available at Bridport Books, in Buckydoo Square and on the evening at the Electric Palace.

our sea

Lectures on Everything
Tel: 01308 458 116; e-mail: eendymion@yahoo.com

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