EU Consultation on International Ocean Governance

The Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (DG MARE) of the European Commission has recently announced the launch of a public consultation on International Ocean Governance.

The aim of this consultation is to gather input on how the EU could contribute to achieving better international governance of oceans and seas to the benefit of sustainable blue growth. On the basis of the results and other sources of data and information, the European Commission will consider how best to develop a more coherent, comprehensive and effective EU policy on improving the international ocean governance framework.

Issues covered in the consultation document include:

  • The importance of international ocean governance for managing shared resources such as fisheries, raw materials, shipping and combating threats such as climate change and international security.
  • The effectiveness of the existing international framework for ocean governance based around the Law of the Sea, which is now being challenged by increased pressure on the oceans from human activity.
  • The number of institutions with responsibility for the seas operating at different levels (global, regional, national and sub-national), lack of transparency, failure to ratify agreements and gaps in both geographical and thematic coverage.
  • Lack of scientific knowledge about certain sea regions and the need for up to date information that reflects the impacts of human uses and climate change to assist decision making.

The consultation is open to individuals and organisations. Full details associated documents can be found HERE. The consultation closes on 15th September 2015.

Update: The deadline for submitting responses to this consultation has now been extended to 15th October 2015.

European Funding and Projects

Following on from last summer’s Irish Sea Maritime Forum conference on the theme of Blue Growth, stakeholder inputs from the conference have been used to develop a project Prospectus, outlining ideas for projects that could be developed into full bids for funding from European sources such as INTERREG.

We are inviting expressions of interest in these ideas and hope to organise a Partner Cafe event in Spring 2015 to bring together potential partners for bid development.

For more information and to download the Prospectus see our European Funding Opportunities page.

Scotland’s National Marine Plan

Scotland’s first National Marine Plan was laid before Parliament last Thursday, 11th December, setting out the Scottish Government’s Vision for the sustainable development and use of the marine environment. This follows consultation on a Draft National Marine Plan which took place during 2013.

The National Marine Plan encourages better management of the seas and aims to ensure sustainable economic growth of Scotland’s marine industries, while taking the environment into account. A sustainable approach to managing Scotland’s marine environment will ensure its resources are available for future generations to benefit from.

The Plan includes policies for the sustainable growth of fishing, aquaculture, salmon and migratory fish, oil and gas, carbon capture and storage, offshore wind and marine renewable energy, recreation and tourism, shipping, ports, harbours and ferries, submarine cables, defence, aggregates.

The National Marine Plan can be downloaded from the Scottish Government website.

FAQs on the National Marine Plan can be viewed HERE.

Third Annual Conference – Presentations Now Available

Despite a last minute change of venue the Irish Sea Maritime Forum held a successful third Annual Conference at the Liner Hotel, Liverpool with over 70 delegates in attendance. The ISMF Secretariat would like to thank all of our speakers and delegates who came along and joined discussions on the EU’s Blue Growth agenda and future opportunities for the Irish Sea region. Presentations from the day are now available for downloading from the conference web page →.

Annual Conference – Final Programme now available

We are pleased to announce the final programme for our Third Annual Conference on the theme of Blue Growth which takes place in Liverpool next week on Wednesday 2nd July at the Rum Warehouse, Stanley Dock. The conference will feature a welcome address from the new Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Erica Kemp and presentations from representatives of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, the British-Irish Commercial Bar Association and Dublin Regional Authority.

Download the Final Programme HERE

For further information see the Conference web page →

Welsh Government launches consultation on Statement of Public Participation for Marine Planning

The Welsh Government has recently published its draft Statement of Public Participation in support of marine planning which sets out the options for how and when people will be consulted on Wales’ marine planning process. The Welsh Government is committed to having its first national marine planning process in place by 2015. Members of the public can now view and respond to the draft document which is available here.

Read the full press release from Alun Davies (link opens in new window).

The consultation runs from 3rd February 2014 to 28th March 2014.

Measuring and Monitoring Biodiversity Offshore (MAMBO) Conference, 12/13th September, Bangor, NI

Ulster Wildlife in conjunction with the British Trust for Ornithology are holding a joint conference, Measuring and Monitoring Biodiversity Offshore (MAMBO). This will be a working conference exploring the need for offshore biodiversity data collection and the methodologies involved. Designed to be informative, stimulating and enjoyable, and to build a network of those involved in offshore activities. This conference is being delivered in the context of the imminent new Northern Ireland Marine Act, and the heightened offshore activity around Northern Ireland and the Irish Sea, particularly within the renewable energy sector and will be held at the Marine Court Hotel, Bangor, Northern Ireland.

The aims of this conference are:

1. To create a network of people who are stakeholders in, or may become engaged in, offshore biodiversity monitoring.
2. Identify the gaps in our knowledge, and make the network aware of these, and develop network ‘buy-in’ to the filling of these gaps.
3. Ensure wide knowledge of the nature and quality of evidence that needs to be gathered.
4. Develop prioritised recommendations for future measuring and monitoring of biodiversity offshore.

The conference will be targeted at professionals, including Government Departments, NGOs, local authorities, consultants and those in the offshore development industry. The programme a includes a highly specialised range of speakers, including Micheal O’Briain (DG Environment), and is being supported by North Down Borough Council, AFBI, NIEA, Marine Division and Loughs Agency, and the dinner has been sponsored by APEM.

Please see HERE for the conference programme and registration details.

ISMF – Nominations for new Chair and Vice-Chair open

A key development for the Irish Sea Maritime Forum in 2013/14 will be the appointment of a Chair and Vice Chair to help steer our activities and raise the profile of the Forum.

Details on what the roles of Chair and Vice Chair involve and nomination forms can be downloaded here (MS Word Document).

The deadline for nominations is 16th August, and the Steering Committee will then vote for their preferred candidates for both positions.

Planning Scotland’s Seas: Marine consultation launched

On Thursday 25th July the Scottish Government launched a joint consultation that will help decide how Scotland’s seas are managed in the future.

The consultation covers Scotland’s first National Marine Plan, which will provide a single framework to manage all activity in Scottish waters, proposals for a network of new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) which if designated would increase protection for Scotland’s iconic marine species and habitats, and draft sectorial marine plans which will guide Scotland’s offshore renewable energy industry.

To read the full press release, which includes links to consultation documents and details of consultation events taking place around Scotland, please click HERE (opens in new window)

The consultation runs for 16 weeks until 13th November 2013.