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‘Beyond the Coast’ conference celebrates 10 years of offshore MPAs

News Item 2018

Beyond the Coast’ conference celebrates 10 years of offshore MPAs

Marking the 10-year anniversary of the first offshore marine protected areas in the UK, JNCC hosted Beyond the Coast – a conference reflecting on progress and exploring conservation priorities for the UK offshore marine environment.

JNCC’s marine experts were joined at the University of Hull in June 2018 by attendees from various sectors from across the UK to focus on three key themes:

  • dealing with uncertainty in the environment offshore
  • future opportunities
  • working together to achieve a common goal.

 

A series of breakout sessions encouraged discussions on ‘What are the priorities for offshore UK conservation?’, ‘How can we best design offshore science in the future?’ and ‘How can we optimise offshore marine management?

A key message from cross-sectoral discussions during the conference was the need for improved collaboration and a more co-ordinated approach across different sectors and stakeholders. Greater join-up would help to identify knowledge gaps and overlaps in evidence, especially within a rapidly evolving political landscape. Better communication, education and engagement with the public and businesses was felt to be needed to provide clear information on how impacts on the marine environment can be reduced.

The UK is a world leader in many aspects of marine environmental management; future opportunities are seen to lie in advancing and improving the approach to deploying technology, innovation and data sharing.

The need to prioritise the understanding of natural capital for the offshore marine environment was also highlighted. These approaches help us to evaluate the trade-offs that should be considered in effective decision-making.

Consideration of management activities beyond marine protected areas were also identified as an important step to achieve effective conservation and improvement of the health of the UK’s offshore marine environment, especially for highly mobile species.

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