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Marine Science



Call for more MPAs in Irish waters. Revitalising Our Seas is a new report by Fair Seas, identifying areas of interest for Marine Protected Area designation in Irish Waters. 

The report states that Ireland’s Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) must increase 18-fold by the end of the decade in order to restore critical habitats and address the climate emergency.

The report shows how it would be possible to protect 36% of Ireland’s ocean enabling the country to meet its European targets of 30% MPA coverage by 2030. Sixteen areas of interest have been identified that make up a network of MPAs covering 175,504 km2 of Ireland’s maritime area. That would protect an area of the ocean over twice the size of the island of Ireland.

The 16 areas of interest identified in the report highlight the need to protect large offshore areas of our ocean as well as areas along our coast. Marine Protected Areas need to take the whole ecosystem into account, not just one particular species or habitat. By taking an ‘ecosystem approach’ you allow all life within an MPA to flourish. This approach allows better protection for all the species that occur in an area, the food they rely on and the habitats they live and raise their young in, while also removing threats from the water they swim around in.

The analysis in the report is based on the best data available to Fair Seas scientists and identifies the areas of interest based on their importance for biodiversity or sensitive and rare species and habitats. The report acknowledges that more data and funding for further study and research is required to fill existing data gaps. Ireland’s Maritime Area covers a stretch of open ocean seven times the size of the island of Ireland.

Fair Seas Campaign Manager Aoife O’Mahony says:

“This report is about kick-starting the conversation among stakeholders and decision-makers nationwide. It aims to significantly ramp up the process of building an effective network of Marine Protected Areas in Irish waters which would enable Ireland to meet its 2030 commitments with the best possible outcomes for nature, climate and people. We’ve used scientific research and available data to identify the potential areas most in need of protection. Our ambition is to see Ireland become a world leader in marine protection, giving our species, habitats and coastal communities the opportunity to thrive.”

The Fair Seas campaign is led by a coalition of  Ireland’s leading environmental non-governmental organisations and networks including  Irish Wildlife Trust, BirdWatch Ireland, Sustainable Water Network, Friends of the Irish Environment, Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, Coomhola Salmon Trust, Irish Environmental Network and Coastwatch. It is funded by Oceans 5, Blue Nature Alliance, BFCT and The Wyss Foundation.



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