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Weymouth group's warship plea for artifical reefs
11:29am Friday 15th February 2013 in News
A COMMUNITY group creating an artificial reef off Weymouth says ex-naval ships should be sunk around UK waters as diving attractions to help boost coastal communities.
It has started a petition in order to gather support.
Weymouth and Portland Wreck to Reef is a non-profit group originally set up to sink a warship off the Dorset coast as an artificial reef.
That vision has developed into plans to create a square kilometre area with two vessels and other inert material to create a reef sanctuary that it is hoped will be the first of many in the UK.
A lobster re-stocking reef was laid last March and baby lobsters donated by the National Lobster Hatchery, will be released this summer.
Now all those permissions are in place, Wreck to Reef is now looking at ways of funding the purchase of the two ships.
One way which is being investigated is a ‘deed of gift’ from the government and an e-petition has been launched to gather support.
Neville Copperthwaite from the group said: “It has been suggested that Weymouth and Portland Wreck to Reef now has a blueprint that should be adopted across the whole of the United Kingdom.
“The jewel in the crown of these reef sanctuaries, is of course the once jewels of our naval history, our warships.
“Our ex-naval ships could be cleaned and made ready responsibly here in the UK and would help create much needed habitat for our ailing marine environments and bring decades of revenue to our coastal communities.
“The UK is sadly out of step with the rest of the world with regards to giving ships as ‘deeds of gifts’ to any organisation. Portugal and Thailand sunk four ships in 2012, with Portugal planning to sink another two warships this year.”
Sign the petition at wrecktoreef.co.uk/e-petition