Celtic Sea

The Celtic Sea provides important habitats for a number of bird and marine mammal species, as well as other coastal and marine organisms. The wide variations in coastal geography (from fjordic sea lochs, to sand dunes, bays, estuaries and numerous sandy beaches) cause a large range of habitats, like kelp forests, sea grass beds and cold-water corals. The large range of habitats support a diverse fish fauna such as herring and mackerel.

In the Celtic Sea is increasing competition for ocean space in the Celtic Sea. Initiatives have been started to designate marine protected areas. There are also two wind farms being planned. Fishermen feel that they are increasingly being displaced from fishing grounds, due to the allocation of ocean space for nature conservation and offshore renewable energy development. This and other developments create growing conflicts between the different sectors that use the Celtic Sea.

Aim of Case Study
In this case study we will look at several on-going initiatives in the case study area and the conflicts, challenges and good practices of marine spatial management that emerged from these initiatives. This will provide important information for the MESMA framework, particularly in evaluating the key governance/institutional issues that affect the management effectiveness of spatial management. It also gives information about the possibility and requirements for implementing the key recommendations derived from the MESMA framework.

Due to the large geographical area (almost 400.000 km2) we focus on selected projects, initiatives and issues within the case study area. Subcases are: PISCES and Southwest England (including: Finding Sanctuary and SW England trail of the ‘ecosystem approach’).
PISCES is an existing project to promote an integrated approach to implementing the ecosystem approach to managing the uses of this regional sea. Finding Sanctuary aims to design a network of Marine Conservation Zones around South West England with participation of stakeholders. SW England trail of the ‘ecosystem approach’ aims to develop an evidence-based model for assessing the ecosystem impacts of different fishing techniques and thereby to assess the cumulative ecosystem impacts of fishing in an given area.

In the Celtic Sea study we will mainly look at the following issues:

  • Stakeholders perspectives on marine spatial planning related initiatives,
  • The effectiveness of different governance approaches in achieving marine spatial planning objectives,
  • Identification of pros and cons for marine spatial planning in the Celtic Sea.

Related projects:

UK Project Finding Sanctuary
EU project PISCES