The Wildlife Trusts called for the creation of marine reserves where fishing and other damaging activities would be prohibited. They have identified 15 important wildlife areas around the UK coast that would benefit from protection.
The list highlights Rathlin Island and Strangford Lough in Northern Ireland, Lamlash Bay and Solway Firth in Scotland and the Menai Strait and Skomer in Wales.
It also includes the Isles of Scilly, Lyme Bay Reefs, Studland Bay, the Wash, Dogger Bank and Easington-Dimlington Reef in England.
The trusts and WWF will deliver a petition to Downing Street calling for the bill to be brought forward. DEFRA confirmed last month that the bill would not be published until next spring.