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Celtic Seas Partnership launches in Liverpool

Our launch workshop in Liverpool last month was a great success with support from government, industry, sea users and scientists across the Celtic Seas. Getting this support was key for us – we want the project to deliver results that will help you to implement the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) and achieve Good Environmental Status in our seas.

TV biologist Monty Halls joined us at the evening reception and his talk set the mood for the workshop – he really hit home the importance of looking after our seas and involving those whose livelihoods depend on it in their management.

Monty Halls

We had over 60 people come along from a wide range of sectors including governments, statutory agencies, non-governmental organisations, scientists and industry. Industry interests included shipping, fisheries, and energy.

What’s unique about our project is that it operates across borders and amongst multiple sectors – so it was really encouraging to have such a mix of people attending from different sectors and countries across the Celtic Seas.

We’re under no illusion though, we know that more needs to be done to get a balanced representation from these sectors. This is something that we will be working on throughout the project and we hope that you can help too by encouraging your peers to get involved.

Developing potential measures to achieve Good Environmental Status

We spent the morning of the workshop getting everyone up to speed on the PISCES ecosystem approach principles and the ins and outs of the MSFD.  We were then able to get down to the ‘meatier’ task in the afternoon – developing potential measures that will help us achieve Good Environmental Status in our seas.

This was clearly a challenging task but the results were impressive. Each participant was able to choose which MSFD descriptor area they wanted to work on – this meant that there was a good mix of different interests working together, producing ideas that multiple sectors would be willing to sign up to.

The brainstorm of ideas generated over 80 potential measures and 18 of these were explored in detail. You’ll be able to see these in our full workshop report.

How this fits in with the official MSFD process…

csp-msfd timeline

The MSFD aims to achieve Good Environmental Status by 2020. To achieve this the process has been broken down into a number of steps:

  • Identifying characteristics and descriptors
  • Setting targets and indicators
  • Putting in place a monitoring programme
  • Identifying suitable measures for implementing MSFD

Although each country will have their own individual process they will all be required to meet the EU timeline.

Through discussion with governments in the Celtic Seas, we identified that the project could provide most value by focusing on the development of programmes of measures. This thinking has shaped the content and direction of our workshops. The workshop in Liverpool generated some great draft measures and we’ll be developing these further at our next lot of workshops in Spring 2014.

Our aim is that the measures, ideas and ways of working that are coming out of the workshops are being fed directly into MSFD consultations in each country – helping to shape how MSFD will be implemented. Celtic Seas governments have indicated their support for the project and its role in facilitating marine policy implementation.

We’ll be continuing our discussions with governments throughout the project to make sure that our project outputs feed in and add value to government processes.

What’s next for us?

We’ll be producing a full workshop report in January 2014 and sharing this on our website. The report will evaluate the workshop and set out how we, with your input, will take things forward at the workshops being held in each project country in Spring 2014.

We’ll also be producing a policy tutorial designed to build capacity and strengthen understanding of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

In the meantime read our workshop summary report