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Government pledges protection for world's coral reefs
The Coral Reef Life Declaration encourages countries to join forces to protect coral reefs.

The UK has officially joined the Coral Reef Life Declaration

The UK government has pledged to safeguard the world’s coral reefs from climate change and rising sea temperatures.

Speaking at the National Oceanography Centre in Southampton on Monday (9 April), environment minister Thérèse Coffey announced that the UK had officially joined the Coral Reef Life Declaration.  

“Few people know the waters around the UK contain riches to rival the tropics – with our waters home to a vast array of cold water coral reefs that protect important marine life,” she said.

“Through tapping into the UK’s world-leading marine science and working with our partners across the Commonwealth, we will help to safeguard this vital habitat and protect our oceans for future generations.”

The Coral Reef Life Declaration encourages countries to join forces to protect coral reefs. Launched by Prince Albert II of Monaco in October 2017, it has already been signed by 12 countries, including Fiji, Australia and the Seychelles.

The oceans surrounding the UK are home to cold-water corals which are more than 8,000 years old. The only known coral reef in English waters is located off the Cornish coast and is protected as a Marine Conservation Zone. There are also extensive reefs off the West coast of Scotland.

The announcement comes one week ahead of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, where member states will gather in London to agree further global measures to protect our oceans.

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New app to improve street dog welfare

News Story 1
 A new free app will support vital work in clinics caring for stray dogs around the world, experts say. Created by the University of Edinburgh, the tool allows vets to track the wellbeing of dogs going through catch-neuter-return schemes, which are common in countries with large numbers of strays.

Vets say the welfare of individual dogs can be overlooked during the process of capture, transport or surgery. The app, piloted across Asia and Africa, helps staff to monitor welfare, spot signs of distress and develop strategies to improve care. It was launched at BSAVA Congress on Friday 6 April.  

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News Shorts
Farm to fork traceability championed in new service

Defra has created a new information service to offer farm to fork traceability when the UK leaves the EU. The Livestock Information Service, which is set to be operational from 2019, will identify and track animal movements via electronic IDs, meaning the industry and government are better placed to respond in the event of a disease outbreak.

Environment secretary Michael Gove said: “This service will be instrumental in improving traceability and providing guarantees to consumers about the origin of their food. NFU President Minette Batters, among others, has helped lead the way on this, showing how it will drive a progressive and vibrant livestock industry once we leave the EU.”