On Tuesday 28th June, at the United Nations Ocean Conference in Lisbon, Portugal, Minister of State for Heritage and Electoral Reform, Minister Noonan announced that Ireland will provide €10 million in funding to address ocean challenges faced by developing countries including Small Island Developing States.

Fair Seas highly commends the Irish Government for supporting marine conservation in the global ocean and making funds available for developing countries to protect their marine heritage and biodiversity. Access to adequate funding and resources is essential for Small Island states to tackle the myriad of ocean threats which impact local biodiversity and communities. Projects such as The Blue Action Fund for example, whose mission is to ‘enhance the management and use of coastal and marine ecosystems to conserve marine biodiversity by making targeted grants to non-governmental organisations active in developing countries is critical to the long-term conservation and health of the marine environment.

“This substantial financial investment shows Ireland’s support for conserving ocean biodiversity globally, and Fair Seas look forward to seeing similar investments in marine conservation efforts at the national level.” adds Aoife O’Mahony, Fair Seas Campaign Manager.

The Irish Government have committed to protecting 30% of our ocean by 2030, yet progress towards that target is lacking, while 65% of monitored coastal habitats are in unfavourable condition. Ireland needs to turn the tide on this decline. By accelerating the conversation with stakeholders, local communities and groups on how it will introduce new Marine Protected Areas, Ireland will not only help achieve healthy and productive ecosystems locally but will be doing our bit for marine protection and conservation at the European and global level too.

This is why Fair Seas are calling on the Irish Government to designate an effective, well-managed network of Marine Protected Areas covering at least 30% of Irish waters by 2030. To that end, Fair Seas recently published a report identifying 16 high biodiversity Areas of Interest in Irish waters which if properly protected, could significantly contribute to the improvement in the health of our seas and the wildlife in them. The time to act is now.

“Thank you Ireland for the generous contribution to protect marine biodiversity, particularly joining Blue Action Fund, one of the most effective sources of public funding for the ocean,” said Seth Horstmeyer, Program Director for Oceans 5, an international funder collaborative supporting the Fair Seas Coalition. “Today’s announcement demonstrates true leadership by supporting the global effort to protect the ocean while advancing 30 percent protection in Ireland’s waters.”

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.

The report “Revitalising Our Seas – Identifying Areas of Interest for MPA Designation in Irish Waters” is authored by Regina Classen, Marine Policy and Research Officer, Irish Wildlife Trust; Sarah Hegarty, Seabird MPA Researcher, Birdwatch Ireland; Hannah Keogh, Marine Mammal Ecologist, Irish Whale and Dolphin Group and Sibéal Regan, Education and Outreach Officer, Irish Whale and Dolphin Group.

For more information

The funding commitment includes;

  • €5 million over three years to the Blue Action Fund to enhance the management and use of coastal and marine ecosystems in developing countries while improving the lives of local people.

  • €3.8 million over five years for the Our Shared Ocean Programme to facilitate research partnerships between Irish and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) based institutions.

  • €600,000 for the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), to promote equitable and inclusive development of coastal areas in Tanzania with a focus on marginalised women and girls.

  • €300,000 to the World Bank PROBLUE Trust Fund, specifically for activities in the Caribbean to support the sustainable and integrated development of marine and coastal resources.

  • €250,000 to Climate KIC to support innovation in the Blue Economy in Pacific Island Developing States through an enterprise support programme

Keep up to date with Fairseas and MPA news and developments, by subscribing up to our newsletter here. Make sure to follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

We also welcome you to join us in Cork on 8th June, where we are hosting our inaugural World Ocean Day conference. We are bringing ocean advocates, government, industry and key stakeholders together to map out the next steps for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Irish waters.

 — ENDs.

Help us spread the word - please share!