18th December

Maritime spatial planning to energise Ireland’s blue economy

“Maritime spatial planning brings together multiple users of the marine space to make informed and co-ordinated decisions about how to use marine resources in a sustainable way through the production of a comprehensive plan,” is how Minister for Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, Simon Coveney defined what he believes to be the single most important government legislation for the past fifty years.

Maritime Spatila Planning copy

The minister was addressing this year’s SeaFest in Galway prior to announcing that he had signed regulations to transpose the EU Directive on Maritime Spatial Planning into Irish law – a move that heralded major implications for Irish marine law.

Read more: Maritime spatial planning to energise Ireland’s blue economy

Green light for restricted cruise berth terminal in Dún Laoghaire harbour

An Bord Pleanála has decided by a 4:1 majority to grant permission for a cruise berth terminal in Dún Laoghaire Harbour, subject to conditions including a restriction on vessel size of 250m length overall.

The decision however overrules the board’s own planning inspector’s report to refuse permission on the grounds, inter alia, that the application failed to have adequate cognisance to the MARPOL Convention wherein at 3 nautical miles from shore, i.e. within the boundary of the Rockabill to Dalkey Island SAC, the cruise ship operators may discharge their treated sewage.

Dun Laoghaire

4:1 ABP decision to grant permission for a cruise berth terminal, subject to vessel length restriction of 250m. Photo G Mills

The EIS and NIS as submitted did not provide data on the impact of such discharge upon the Conservation Interest of this SAC, the Harbour Porpoise. … In such circumstances, the Board is precluded from granting approval. (See below)

Read more: Green light for restricted cruise berth terminal in Dún Laoghaire harbour

Primary school curriculum to include marine studies

'Leave No Trace - the outdoor ethics programme designed to promote and inspire responsible outdoor recreation through education, research and partnerships - has teamed with the Marine Institute's 'Explorer's Education Progamme. 

MI Explorers Education Programme

A new module in the 2016 programme - 'Leave No Trace in the Marine Environment' - for primary school children in south Mayo, Donegal, Sligo, and Kerry, will teach how to protect local marine environment, through classroom saltwater aquariums, seashore safaris, and marine projects and workshops.

Read more: Primary school curriculum to include marine studies

Wicklow Port Company transfers to local authority

An Order has been signed to transfer Wicklow Port Company to Wicklow County Council. This east coast port is the first of five 'Ports of Regional Significance'  to complete the transfer, identified under the 2013 National Ports Policy. 

Wicklow Port

The Harbours Act 2015 provides the legislative basis for the transfers to proceed. Drogheda, Dún Laoghaire, Galway, New Ross will follow 'to more appropriate local authority led governance structures' a statement reads.

Read more: Wicklow Port Company transfers to local authority

Actions identified to improve ocean governance

A five-month public consultation (June-October 2015) on international ocean governance has identified the need for better implementation and coordination, as well as filling legal gaps and improving ocean knowledge.

Ocean governance

Respondents from Portugal, Malta, USA, Norway, Chile, Spain, France and Ireland agreed that the EU has an important role to play in the global fight against illegal fishing; driving the agenda for a new international legal agreement under the UN to preserve marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction, and promoting research cooperation through the 2013 Galway Declaration ― Atlantic Ocean research alliance with the EU and Canada.

Read more: Actions identified to improve ocean governance

Marine 'business as usual' no longer an option, says Coveney

The marine sector could deliver over 29,000 additional jobs and an addditonal €2.7bn in economic growth by 2020. "Ireland is now firmly on what I believe is an unstoppable voyage of marine expansion."

Simon Coveney, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, was addressing over 500 delegates at the second annual Harnessing our Ocean Wealth conference at the National Maritime College of Ireland (July 9).

Seafest 2015

Publication in 2012 of Ireland's first 'blueprint' for the marine, which straaddles nine departments on the government's Marine Coordination Group, has begun a peocess of "radical change" in the approach to marine policy. Government commitment to the sector is reinforced by the "first ever review on taxation" to be reflected in the October budget, he added.

Read more: Marine 'business as usual' no longer an option, says Coveney

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