30th August 2019
Coastwatch and the Irish Wildlife Trust are the Irish partners in an international MPA project coordinated by European NGO Seas at Risk. Together we are hosting a conference on the 2nd and 3rd of September in Trinity College Dublin to discuss the climate and biodiversity crisis and how this is connected to ocean protection.
IWT Campaign Officer, Pádraic Fogarty says: “Ireland is a laggard in providing the protections required to restore our ocean’s health. MPAs are now widely applied across the world as a tool in protecting biodiversity and ocean ecosystems. As an island nation we really should be at the forefront of this effort – not at the back of the class”.
Coastwatch Coordinator Karin Dubsky says: “We need a radical review on how our great marine commons are used. Citizens are calling for a new approach to nature protection with public participation and transparency. ”
Ireland, along with many other countries, has committed to designate 10% of its seas as MPAs by 2020 and 30% by 2030. Yet so far, we have protected only 2.3 %. Our ~400,000 km² EEZ is one of the biggest in Europe and with this comes a great responsibility to safeguard and indeed restore precious habitats and species within this region. One proven way of doing this is by establishing well designed and managed marine protected areas (MPAs). The recent six-yearly report by the NPWS to the European Commission, the so called ‘Art 17 report’, indicates that Ireland is failing in this task, with most marine habitats in inadequate or even bad condition.
This conference is organised to bore into reasons for our poor performance and present ways to improve marine biodiversity protection and the wise use of our marine resources with public participation. It includes:
- International speakers with legal and science backgrounds to give an outside view.
- High ranking Irish government officials who can instigate change.
- Panel discussion with public representatives of all parties invited,as the election is coming closer and we need commitments for change.
- Case studies from right around Ireland presented by local people who haveachieved some improvements and are sharing their experience to make changes elsewhere.
- Break-out sessions for small group discussions and drafting of recommendations.
- Fieldtrips to see coastal beauty, richness mobility, problems and actions first hand.