This is where you can find information on our previous events and reports we have commented on.
THE MARINE SCIENTIST PUBLISHES NSMC ARTICLE ON MARINE CONSERVATION ZONES
Marine Conservation Zones - the £47,000 question
Liam McAleese of the North Marine Cluster considers the significance of the proposed Marine Conservation Zones. An excerpt from the article:
"Good evidence for designation is important, but "good evidence" means different things to different people. Most would agree that we need to know that we are protecting the right habitats and species in the right places and in the right way. Clear conservation objectives need to be set with appropriate management measures in place with funding for monitoring and enforcement. No stakeholder wants to see Marine Conservations Zones as paper parks. But so far there is little public information as to how proposed MCZs are likely to be managed. This puts all stakeholders in the difficult position of responding to a consultation on the designation of MCZs without clarity on what activities will and will not be allowed in them.
The North Sea Marine Cluster has previously drawn attention to the need to look at detailed management measures alongside and as an integral part of the designation process. This way both the regulatory authorities and stakeholders can take an informed view on proposed Marine Conservation Zones. Stakeholders can also be part of the discussion as to how different approaches can be adopted to achieve both conservation objectives at site and network level in the most cost effective way."
Full article can be downloaded here.
MARINE CONSERVATION: WHO PAYS?
On 13th September, over 40 delegates representing over 30 businesses, organisations, government and academia attended the North Sea Marine Cluster seminar on Marine Conservation at the University of East Anglia’s London Campus.
Roger Bright, recently retired Chief Executive, The Crown Estate opened the seminar. The delegates heard from a range of senior representatives from Business, Academia and Non-Governmental Organisations. The seminar programme covered the challenges and possible options to support the successful delivery of increased marine conservation activities in UK waters at a time when economic pressures are eroding public sector budgets. Marine conservation regulators and managers are under pressure to deliver more for less and the seminar considered the issues and challenges.
Speakers and Presentations included:
NSMC PUBLISHES CASE STUDY EXAMINING THE CHAGOS ARCHIPELAGO
The Chagos Archipelago, which forms the British Indian Ocean Territory, has a very special marine environment. It is remarkably rich in biodiversity and has world status ecologically. Because of where it is – in the middle of the Indian Ocean –and its history the Chagos Archipelago has enjoyed relatively little anthropogenic disturbance. The whole marine area was declared a marine protected area (MPA) in April 2010, making it the biggest MPA in the world. The present Coalition Government has since confirmed the UK’s commitment to protecting the highly valued marine habitats and species in and around the Chagos Archipelago. The North Sea Marine Cluster commissioned this report and the underpinning research to help inform consideration of how that goal can best be achieved.
Just about every MPA can give rise to complications and disagreement. It would be an understatement to say that Chagos is no exception. There is, for example, considerable controversy over the compulsory relocation of the former islanders by the UK Government in the 1960s. In debate, this issue frequently becomes entangled with the pros and cons of declaring the marine protected area itself. Our report takes as the starting point the decision to declare the marine protected area and takes no position on the merits or otherwise of the decision. It is not that we are insensitive to associated issues. It is that we believe that the report can add most value by focussing on the practicalities of MPA implementation.
Similarly, we are aware of sensitivities over cost and whether protecting an environmental MPA costs more or less than fisheries management. We do not see this as a helpful or meaningful comparison. It is not our chosen prism. Instead, It is more productive to relate costs to the stated goals and ambitions for the MPA. In reality, this will probably be an iterative process. The MPA objectives and the delivery mechanisms need to take into account the resources that can be made available, but equally adequate resources will need to be found to secure the stated goals. We believe that it is important to be clear from the outset about objectives and what success will look like, and to be realistic about costs. We would not expect this to be a comfortable process, but we caution against fudging. Tempting as it may be in the short term, the end result is invariably disappointment and criticism.
With the foregoing in mind, the report’s conclusion that declaration of the MPA will carry additional cost consequences is unlikely to be welcome. The Bertarelli Foundation’s donation of £3.5 million over the next five years and the efforts of the Blue Marine Foundation to facilitate this are to be applauded. It is likely that similar and further innovative thinking will be required to ensure that in ten year’s time the Chagos MPA will be heralded world-wide as an example of a well managed and highly effective MPA. The report offers some suggestions and ideas.
Success will depend not just on the money spent – from whatever source. It will depend critically on how effectively and efficiently the money is used and how well the resources are deployed. It is the central theme of this report. Declaring a MPA is just the start. The really difficult part is making it happen in the way intended. Fortunately, there is plenty of expertise that can be tapped into across all sectors. It has already been demonstrated that there is room for a collaborative approach. The report is offered in this spirit.
MARINE PROTECTED AREAS – ASPIRATION OR REALITY?
On 7 April, over 110 delegates representing 80 organisations attended the North Sea Marine Cluster Conference on Marine Protected Areas.
The conference heard from a range of senior representatives from across sectors on a range of issues associated with Marine Protected Areas.
Richard Benyon MP, Minister for Natural Environment and Fisheries
Carla Montesi, Director, DG MARE, European Commission
Jim Smyllie, Executive Director, Natural England
Carolyn Cadman , Director of Networks, MMO
Elizabeth Moore, Office of National Marine Sanctuaries US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Gregory Darling, Chairman of the Gardline Group
Professor Charles Sheppard, University of Warwick
Professor Bela Buck - Alfred-Wegener Institute
Dr Wanfei Qiu, University College, London
Kate Sugar, RSPB
Barry Deas, Chief Executive, NFFO
Daniel Owen, Barrister, Fenners Chambers
Peter Barham, Seabed User and Developers Group
Paul Reynolds, Renewable UK
Conference presentations are available from the following speakers:
Wanfei Qiu NSMC
Daniel Owen NSMC
David Mallon NSMC
Jim Smyllie NSMC
Carolyn Cadman NSMC
Elisabeth Moore NSMC
Kate Sugar NSMC
Gregory Darling NSMC
Peter Barham NSMC
Paul Reynolds NSMC
Barry Deas NSMC
Bela Buck NSMC
We could be on the brink of the greatest positive set of changes in the way that our seas are managed. Across the broad sweep of marine management, the planned reforms are at that delicate stage between conception and implementation. It would be easy to believe that much of the hard work is done: the long fought argument for reform is won, policies are in place, legislation has been passed and Commissioners and Ministers are firmly committed to the changes happening. But, despite all this, could the reality turn out to be very different from the intention?
Marine protected areas (MPAs) are seen as one of the most important tools for protecting the marine environment. The UK Government and the Devolved Administrations are committed to a massive expansion of MPAs over a short period of years: a process already underway. But, experience elsewhere and the hard lessons of the past suggest that disappointment could be around the corner if insufficient attention is given to the practicalities of implementation.
The aim of the conference was to give further consideration to how these sites should be monitored and managed if the UK is to avoid pitfalls previously experienced, here in the UK and elsewhere, and to gain from the know-how of successful practitioners. We are, therefore, organizing a conference aimed at those with a direct interest in the proposed UK network, whether as marine users, those concerned with marine conservation or policy makers and managers (of course, none of these is necessarily exclusive of the others).