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17 March 2010

First stakeholder group meeting

The Irish Sea Conservation Zones stakeholder group begins the important task of recommending conservation zones this week.

The group of around 40 people meets for the first time on Thursday, bringing together a wide range of interests in the Irish Sea, from commercial fishing and the oil and gas industry to recreational boating and sea angling.

The stakeholder group is at the heart of the Irish Sea Conservation Zones project.

It will ultimately recommend to the government where Marine Conservation Zones should be located in the Irish Sea, what size and shape they should be, and what each one should aim to protect.

Meeting for the first time, the people on the group will look for the common group between their diverse interests and activities and try to develop a shared understanding of the current situation in the Irish Sea.

They will also be encouraged to think about the role of the group in the project and how they can work well together.

The group will meet a further four times in 2010, with a final meeting in early 2011. It is due to make its recommendations to the government in June 2011.

We hope to publish a full list of the members of the stakeholder group and their contact details next week.

Photograph: Dave Willis