Minister Noonan launched the public consultation on Marine Protected Areas today with Minister for Housing, Darragh O'Brien.
The Department is inviting submissions, observations and comments on the report of an expert advisory group on marine protected areas (MPAs) entitled “Expanding Ireland’s Marine Protected Area Network”. The aim of this public consultation is to invite you to share your views on the process by which Ireland’s network of MPAs will be expanded.
What are MPAs?
In general terms, MPAs are geographically defined maritime areas with certain protections for conservation purposes. The Government aims to designate 30% of our maritime area as MPAs by 2030. Currently our MPA coverage is at 2.13%.
Having a clean, healthy, diverse and productive marine environment will help protect biodiversity, our well-being and our economy. It will also provide greater resilience against the effects of climate change and support a wide range of sustainable human activities and practices.
Ireland’s network of marine protected areas (MPAs) will be an important tool for ensuring that we continue to have a thriving marine environment, whether in our coastal bays, shallow seas or in the deeper Atlantic. This public consultation focuses on the report of an independent advisory group on expanding Ireland’s network of MPAs, published by the Department in January 2021. The report considers:
what features of our marine environment should be protected
why they should be protected, and
how they should be protected.
The public consultation aims to gather the views and perspectives of a wide range of people over a period of five months, in order to guide the Government in this work and underpin the expansion of Ireland’s MPA network.