Have your say on how best to make our seas clean, health and safe urges Poots

Environment Minister Edwin Poots is encouraging people in Northern Ireland who use or have an interest in our seas to have their say on how we can ensure they are clean, healthy, safe and productive.

By Edwin Poots MLA

Belfast South

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A UK-wide public consultation has been launched on the Marine Strategy which has been developed with input from scientific experts and policy-makers across the 4 UK administrations.

“Our vision is for clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse seas so we are asking people to help us achieve that by having their say on proposals for the ambitious suite of existing and planned actions that the UK intends to use,” explained Minister Poots.

“We need to protect our own unique marine environment whilst using its resources sustainably.”

The consultation has been jointly published by Defra, DAERA and the Scottish and Welsh Governments and emphasises the UK Government’s continued commitment to work together at national, regional and international level.

Under the Marine Strategy Regulations 2010 the UK is required to implement a Marine Strategy Programme of Measures, showing actions to be taken to achieve or maintain Good Environmental Status in our seas.

The UK Marine Strategy is made up of three parts; an assessment of the state of our seas, our monitoring programmes and the actions needed to achieve Good Environmental Status and our vision for our seas. We continually review our Marine Strategy and publish consultations and updates on each part every six years.

A Programme of Measures, contained within the Strategy, provides an update to our 2015 programme and highlights the ambitious suite of existing and planned actions intended for the next 6 years to achieve the targets and objectives.

The actions proposed have been targeted at a scale appropriate for each of the 15 components of the marine environment covered, including:

  • biological diversity;
  • non-indigenous species;
  • commercially exploited fish and shellfish;
  • food webs;
  • eutrophication;
  • sea floor integrity;
  • hydrographical conditions;
  • contaminants;
  • contaminants in fish;
  • litter, and
  • noise.

Work will focus on those components that are further from achieving Good Environmental Status.

“As part of the consultation, we are seeking feedback on the existing and planned actions we intend to use and range of human activity-related pressures and associated impacts we have considered,” added Minister Poots.

“We are keen to understand where improvements can be made to enhance and streamline our programme and improve implementation over the next six years.”

Northern Ireland’s input into the monitoring programmes and the development of the consultation is being led by DAERA’s Marine and Fisheries Division.

The consultation closes on 29 November 2021.

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