The Killybegs Fishermen’s Organisation (KFO) and the Irish South and East Fish Producers Organisation (IS&EFPO) have performed an initial review of the “Ecological sensitivity analysis of the western Irish Sea to inform future designation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)” Report, which was published on the 19th June 2023 by the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage (DHLGH). The aims of the project were to:
- identify areas of comparatively higher and lower ecological sensitivity within the western Irish Sea based on the best available evidence;
- inform planning decisions to be taken about the potential siting of Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) infrastructure, taking account of stakeholder views, conservation requirements and other sectoral activity;
- establish methods and collate and characterise the evidence base that could be applied to the process of identifying, designating and managing MPAs under the forthcoming legislation.
The analysis in the report can be considered a good starting point, covering some of the ecological issues but has not addressed, and recognised that it has not addressed, some key issues including, species or habitats already listed in the EU Birds and Habitats Directives, species individually managed under the EU Common Fisheries Policy (CFP) and socio-economic impacts. Until these additional issues are considered the report should not be used for informing the ORE planning process or for identifying areas suitable for MPAs. The KFO and IS&EFPO’s comments are outlined in the document in the link below.
Comments on the Ecological sensitivity analysis of the western Irish Sea to inform future designation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) Report