Fair Seas’ MPA legislation Christmas wish list
Ireland currently lags far behind international best practice on marine protection. Despite making commitments under international and European law to protect 10% of our waters by 2020, our government has currently protected only 2% of the seas around our island. A tiny fraction of these protected areas could be described as ‘strictly’ or ‘fully’ protected, delivering the full range of potential benefits to nature and society.
Fortunately, we know the Government has committed to expanding Ireland’s Marine Protected Area (MPA) network to 30% by 2030. This ’30×30′ target is included in the current ‘Programme for Government’. We are hoping it will also be enshrined in international law under the post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework, which will be finalized at the 15th Conference of Parties (COP15) of the Convention on Biological Diversity. COP15 is taking place in Montreal, Canada and runs from the 7th to the 19th of December 2022.
To achieve these ambitious targets, the Government is currently drafting new MPA legislation which will allow it to unilaterally designate and manage new national MPAs. Ensuring this new legislation is effective, ambitious, and robust is a core objective of the Fair Seas campaign. With this in mind and following the release of our updated legal guide: Expanding Ireland’s Marine Protected Areas – A Legal Handbook, we have compiled our Christmas wish list for the forthcoming MPA legislation. The new legislation must include our key asks and recommendations if it is to actually deliver on restoring our native species and habitats while providing essential benefits to society.
When passed, Ireland’s new MPA law will change and renew the focus of marine conservation efforts and policy in Ireland. Its effectiveness and success will be fundamental to the proper protection and restoration of marine habitats, species, and ecosystems in Irish waters for decades to come. It is important we get this right!
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.
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