Páirc Náisiúnta na Mara, Ciarraí

Fair Seas has welcomed the news that Ireland’s eighth national park will be located off the coast of Kerry. 

The first Marine National Park is located in an area previously identified by the environmental coalition as an area of interest for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). It is also home to Ireland’s only Hope Spot. In January 2023, Fair Seas successfully campaigned for the Greater Skellig Coast to be recognised as a special place that is scientifically identified as critical to the health of the ocean.

Páirc Náisiúnta na Mara Ciarraí is the new name for several existing Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) and significant heritage sites covering 70,000 acres in Co. Kerry, including; Kerry Head Shoals SAC, Mount Brandon Nature Reserve, Macha an Mhíl, Owenmore River & Conor Pass, Blasket Islands SAC (marine elements only), An Tiaracht Nature Reserve, Inch Dunes, Valentia Island Tetrapod Trackway, Puffin Island Nature Reserve and Special Protection Area, Sceilg Mhicíl & Little Skellig Nature Reserves, The Skelligs SPA and Derrynane Historic Park, Grounds, Bay.

On attending the launch of the new park in Dingle on Monday April 22nd it is understood by Fair Seas that no resources have yet been allocated by government to manage or monitor Páirc Náisiúnta na Mara Ciarraí.

Jack O’Donovan Trá, Fair Seas Communications Office said, “The new Marine National Park is located in an area of incredible biodiversity. It is vital that this area, its rich habitats and species are preserved for future generations. National Parks, as guardians of nature, aim to do that, however, we believe that properly resourced and effectively managed Marine Protected Areas will go even further, ensuring that Ireland meets its targets to protect 30% of its marine environment by 2030 and ensuring that stakeholders consultation is a central part of the process.”

Fair Seas is campaigning for strong and ambitious Marine Protected Areas legislation committing to effectively protecting 30% of the seas around Ireland by 2030, with 10% strictly protected. Fair Seas wants to see stakeholder engagement at every stage, clear delivery timeframes and a robust management framework, with targeted, site-specific measures to ensure MPAs deliver for nature. Only with these key elements can we ensure that nature actually recovers inside Ireland’s protected areas and that communities are involved and supported throughout the process. 

The seas off the coast of Kerry are breeding areas for several threatened species of shark, ray and skate. This is an important area of interest for whales, dolphins and porpoises. The islands and archipelagos that skirt the peninsulas of Kerry are some of Ireland’s most prominent seabird breeding sites.

Sign our petition calling for the Marine Protected Areas legislation to be publish now -> only.one/act/30×30-ireland 

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