As we launch into the next phase of biodiversity conservation in Ireland and develop pioneering new MPA legislation, Fair Seas hopes this legal guide will provide ocean advocates, policy advisors, eNGO’s and civil society with the background information and current status on existing legislation useful for informing policy making decisions in the future.

This guide was originally published in June 2021 and has been updated to include any relevant updates.

The creation of national MPA legislation is a key turning point in Ireland and a beacon of hope for our species and habitats. It represents a once in a generation opportunity to transformatively change the way we conserve, protect and restore our seas.

We hope this guide will positively inform and engage those outside the legislative framework with the relevant marine directives and legislation, definitions of current protections, international examples, core principles and key targets with which successful new legislation must add to and account for.

Read the second edition of the Expanding Ireland’s Marine Protected Areas – A Legal Handbook written by Sarah Ryan Enright.

This legal guide will complement the recently published scientific report “Revitalising our Seas” and help steer the conversation about marine protected areas in Ireland amongst all stakeholders.

This also aligns with the work Fair Seas has completed on our MPA legislative Asks which we have shared with our colleagues in government and also encourage you to read.

As a European laggard in marine protection, Ireland can now lead the way by developing robust legislation that will serve our species and habitats, combat climate change and conserve and restore our ocean.

Recent Fair Seas research shows that 31% of people believe that Irish seas are healthy and that 67% of people believe the health of Irish seas has worsened in the past ten years.

This public perception poll reveals that 45% of people know what a Marine Protected Area (MPA) is, up from 37% of people at the start of this year. It also shows strong support for additional marine biodiversity protections, with four out of five people saying they would support a campaign to protect more of our seas.

Citizens of Ireland want to see action on ocean restoration and conservation, this is evident in our recent research and also supported by the recommendations of the Citizens Assembly on biodiversity loss. Not only is marine protection a key issue for the people of Ireland, this is also a European and global issue.

Fair Seas has recently become a signatory to the European Mission charter to “Restore our Ocean and Waters by 2030” which brings together member states, regions and a wide range of stakeholders with the common goal of making our oceans healthy again.

The Mission is highly ambitious and aligns with the Fair Seas objectives to protect a minimum of 30% of our seas, including 10% ‘strictly’ protected, from damaging human activity.

Be part of the Fair Seas campaign to help ensure we achieve these ambitious targets- follow us on social media, sign up for our monthly newsletter, get involved with citizen science, and ask your public representatives what they are doing to conserve and restore our ocean for generations to come.

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