Proposed marine nature conservation framework


The marine nature conservation framework proposed considers the sea at five scales:


i. The whole sea from high watermark to the limits of UK jurisdiction, should be maintained in a healthy state

ii. Ecologically distinct 'regional seas'. The Irish Sea would be one such Regional Sea. The map shows possible regional seas around the UK

iii. Marine Landscapes within regional seas should be identified in terms of areas of discrete seabed, landform, substrate type or water column feature
iv. Habitats and Species which were both nationally-important and potentially sensitive to human activities would be the subject of special measures.

v. Specific areas of national importance for the maintenance of marine biodiversity within regional seas and marine landscapes will be identified; including areas necessary to sustain nationally-important habitats or species populations.
For each of the above five components, the framework proposes that objectives will be set taking account of stakeholder views. The sectoral authorities responsible for regulating marine activities will endeavour to achieve these objectives as they carry out their functions.
The proposed marine nature conservation framework is set within the wider context of the Government's policies on sustainable development, and, in particular, the Marine Stewardship Report launched in May 2002. In consequence, objectives set under the framework should be compatible with meeting the needs of people, (for food, employment, energy, minerals, transport, recreation and enjoyment, as well as for wildlife), both now and in the future. This means having due regard to the needs of a range of national stakeholders and local communities.
In its later stages the pilot project will assess whether the current mechanisms of regulation, regulatory responsibility and enforcement in the marine environment are adequate to deliver these objectives and, if not, what measures could be taken to achieve this. It will then make recommendations about whether the proposed marine nature conservation framework needs to be modified or refined before being adopted for future use in other Regional Seas, and on other changes that may be needed to ensure the framework can be implemented effectively.
The orginal framework proposal trailled by the Irish Sea Pilot is set out in Laffoley et al, 2000, available on the web site.