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Johnson, MP;Jessopp, M;Mulholland, OR;McInerney, C;McAllen, R;Allcock, AL;Crowe, TP
Biology and Environment-Proceedings of The Royal Irish Academy
What is the future for marine protected areas in Irish waters?
WOS: 7 ()
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The UK and Ireland, in common with most other European states, are in the middle of a period of rapid expansion in the number of marine protected areas (MPAs). Most of these areas are being designated as Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) under the EU Habitats Directive. This level of Opportunities activity will dominate the future of MPAs in Irish waters, presenting for marine conservation and potentially bringing wider benefits to society. The success of SACs is likely to depend heavily on the attitudes and engagement of people that use protected sites (stakeholders). This article reports on a stakeholder workshop where the potential benefits of, achievement of the potential of, and improvements in MPAs were discussed. A lack of baseline data and inefficient communication of existing information appear to restrict the perceived success of some existing reserves. Improvements seem possible in legislative coherence, public engagement and the science base. Resources for monitoring and managing protected areas are always likely to be stretched. Ways have to be found to make use of whatever data are available, potentially leading to public access websites for each SAC, where stakeholders can upload information. There appeared to be a broad consensus on many points in the clay's discussions. In keeping with the workshop format, individual participants were invited to emphasise areas of omission, disagreement or consensus in comments that follow the main body of this article.
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