FAIR SEAS HIGHLIGHTS URGENT NEED FOR MARINE PROTECTION
Campaign group issues call for legislation ahead of event in Clare
Fair Seas has expressed disappointment at the lack of progress on legislation to protect the waters around Ireland. The campaign group has been calling for the Bill to establish and manage Marine Protected Areas to be published as soon as possible.
The comments come ahead of a special event in Kilrush to celebrate the rich waters off the South West coast. Organisers are inviting the public to attend an evening of talks and discussions called ‘Hope for the Greater Skellig Coast and Ireland’s Marine Protected Areas.’ The expanse of water from Loop Head in Co Clare to Kenmare in Co Kerry was named Ireland’s first Hope Spot at the start of this year.
The free event takes place at Shannon Dolphin Centre, Merchants Quay, Kilrush, Co Clare from 6pm to 8pm on Friday August 4th. There will be a panel discussion and Sibeál Regan, Education and Outreach Officer with the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group will give a talk about the whales, dolphins and porpoises that call this part of the country home. She will also speak about the Fair Seas campaign to protect, conserve and restore Ireland’s unique marine environment.
Sibeál Regan said, “The marine life of Kerry and Clare is truly spectacular. This year, the Greater Skellig Coast – the waters from Kenmare Bay in Co Kerry to Loop Head in Co Clare was named Ireland’s first Hope Spot. Although small at only 1.37% of our overall marine area, these waters support huge biodiversity including the highest densities of minke and humpback whales recorded in the EEZ. Effectively protecting this upwelling area teeming with life is critical to ensuring a healthy sea.”
Fair Seas is calling on the Government to designate a minimum of 30% of Irish waters as Marine Protected Areas by 2030 with at least 10% strictly protected. It was hoped that legislation would be published before the Dáil’s summer break.
Donal Griffin, Marine Policy Officer with Fair Seas added, “The Dáil is now in recess until September which means that it will be several months before we see any progress. Time is running out for Ireland to meet its targets to protect 30% of our seas and ocean by 2030. Research shows that full protection of the marine ecosystem would be cheaper, and more effective, than partial protection, that is why we’re calling for 10% of Ireland’s seas to be fully protected from activities that damage the habitats, wildlife and natural processes. We’re asking the voters of Ireland to add their voice to the calls to safeguard our seas, tell your elected representatives you want strong and ambitious marine protected area legislation. We must all act with ambition and urgency so that the full benefits of nature restored can reveal themselves in generations to come.”
Fair Seas estimates that €55 million will be needed to adequately fund MPA designation and ongoing management until 2030. In recent weeks the organisation published the ‘Sustainably Financing Ireland’s Marine Protected Area Network‘ report which shows that approximately €7 million would be required over the next 12 months to reach the target of fully protecting 10% of Ireland’s ocean and seas.
Fair Seas is also asking people to complete an online survey, answering questions about the health of Ireland’s marine environment, how they use the seas and what actions they believe the Irish government needs to be taking to manage this environment.
The Ocean Literacy Survey will remain open until the end of the summer. All information collected through the survey will be held securely and treated in the strictest confidence. It will take approximately 15 minutes to complete and consent can be withdrawn at any time. To take part visit the following link: https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/OceanConnectionsFairSeas