Commencement of Consultation Process on the Expansion of Ireland’s Network of Marine Protected Areas
Today, August 18th, 2020, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage Darragh O’Brien T.D., and Minister of State Malcolm Noonan T.D. announced the commencement of the consultation process on the expansion of Ireland’s Marine Protected Areas. Professor Tasman Crowe, Director of the UCD Earth Institute, will initiate this process by chairing a series of interactive stakeholder engagement discussions hosted by the independent expert Marine Protected Areas (MPA) Advisory Group.
Professor Crowe declared that, “Effective stakeholder engagement is essential to the development of a successful and durable network of Marine Protected Areas. We recognize that there is a great diversity of views and experience among stakeholders, and are delighted to be embarking on this new phase of dialogue to help us develop the best possible advice for the expansion of Ireland’s network of MPAs.”
These interactive meetings, involving representative bodies and organizations, will occur online through September 18, 2020, and will contribute to the work of the MPA Advisory Group in finalizing its recommendations this autumn to Minister O’Brien and Minister Noonan. Following the submission of these recommendations, the ministers will publish the final report of the Advisory Group and encourage the public to provide comments and suggestions on the future expansion of Ireland’s MPA network.
Minister O’Brien commented, “As an island nation, our seas are intrinsic to our environment, our culture and our economy. It is imperative that we do our utmost to keep them clean, healthy and productive.”
Minister Noonan concluded, “The marine environment is vital to our planet. It is no exaggeration to state that the collapse of marine ecosystems would represent an existential threat to our way of life and our well-being. With this in view, it is our stated intention to expand Ireland’s network of Marine Protected Areas to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goal target of 10% of our maritime area as soon as possible, and we aim to expand beyond this to 30% by 2030.”