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15 February 2010

Stakeholder group news

Find out about the makeup of our stakeholder group – the people who will actually recommend Marine Conservation Zones to the government next year.

Marine Conservation Zones in the Irish Sea project area will be recommended by a stakeholder group made up of a broad cross section of people with interests in the Irish Sea. We have worked hard to ensure that the group gives a voice to the wide variety of people who use, value and make their living from the Irish Sea.

The stakeholder group will produce three sets of draft recommendations in 2010, which will be available for people to comment on. You can also supply data and information for the stakeholder group to consider. There are several ways to comment or supply information, including taking part in our Marine Conservation Zone forums. You can choose whichever methods best suit you to have your say – they are explained later in this document.
The stakeholder group consists of around 40 people. The broad categories of activities and interests with a voice on the group are:
·         Industries
·         Commercial fishing
·         Natural environment
·         Leisure and recreation
·         Heritage
·         Navigation and safety
·         Owners
·         Research
·         Coastal forum
·         Regional bodies and authorities
·         Other countries and devolved administrations
Some of the categories cover a wide range of activities. The ‘industries’ category, for example, includes oil and gas, aggregates extraction and offshore wind farms, amongst others. Similarly, the category for commercial fishing covers inshore and offshore fishing, mobile and static gear, and activities such as shell fishing.
A professional facilitator, Dialogue Matters, was in charge of setting up the stakeholder group. You can find out more about how the stakeholder group was set up by visiting the Resources page of our website and downloading the explanatory document.
The stakeholder group is responsible for recommending the location of Marine Conservation Zones in the Irish Sea project area and what may be protected within them. The stakeholder group may take into account the social and economic impact of proposed Marine Conservation Zones, as long as these do not undermine the creation of the wider network of Marine Protected Areas. You can find out more about the different kinds of marine protection by downloading the guide from the Resources page of our website.
The stakeholder group will meet six times – five times in 2010 (March, May, June, September, December) with a final meeting in April 2011. Each of the meetings will be led and organised by our independent facilitator, Dialogue Matters. The group will then submit its final recommendations to the government in June 2011.
The final recommendations will need to meet national criteria on which species, habitats, geology and geomorphology should be protected. To help achieve this, the group will get advice on each of its draft recommendations from an independent scientific advisory panel. We expect the government to accept the final recommendations providing they meet the ecological criteria.
How can I have my say?
The stakeholder group will consider comments and information gathered from the wide community of sea users, and there are a number of ways you can contribute your information and concerns, or comment on the draft proposals as they are published.
You can:
·         Contact your sector spokesperson on the stakeholder group (a list of representatives will be published on our website)
·         Contact our liaison officers, who can attend meetings, give presentations and pass your comments and information onto the stakeholder group on your behalf (contact details below)
·         Tell us which parts of the Irish Sea are important to you by filling out our questionnaires and maps, which capture data on local activities. Our liaison officers can help with this.
·         Use the online WebGIS system, which should be available on our website from May 2010.
·         Keep informed by checking our website and signing up for our email or postal newsletter
Who should I contact?
To find out more about the stakeholder group and how you can have your say on Marine Conservation Zones in the Irish Sea, contact:
Cheshire, Merseyside, Wales and the Isle of Man
Emily Hardman
07891 842 281
Lancashire, Greater Manchester and Northern Ireland
Laura Bates
07891 842 221
Cumbria and Scotland
Holly Deary
07772 550 121