Views are sought from communities, industry and stakeholders on introducing new Highly Protected Marine Areas and to identify which areas would benefit the most from this new protection.
Further details and access to the call for evidence can be found here.
These Highly Protected Marine Areas would be the strongest form of marine protection in the UK and would build on the 220,000 square kilometres of protection areas already in place around the UK. Known as the ‘Blue Belt’, these areas are already helping to protect species such as the short-snouted seahorse and stalked jellyfish.
Comments can be specific to one or more of the questions below or can just be general comments for the inquiry.
Part 1: HPMAs aims, opportunities and challenges
To what extent do you agree with the following reasons for introducing HPMAs?
- • to provide marine areas a chance to return to as natural a state as possible
- • to provide a reliable measure of what recovery could look like if all damaging human activities were removed
- • to act as no take zones, allowing commercially fished species to recover and for these benefits to spill outside of the protected area
- • to better protect sensitive and/ or ecologically important species and habitats
- • to look after our seas as part of our duty as stewards of the natural environment
- • to better prevent or lessen the effects of climate change, for example to protect habitats that can capture carbon or protect species that are vulnerable to a warming ocean
- • to preserve and increase opportunities for nature-based tourism
- • to support or improve opportunities for cultural, spiritual, educational and/or recreational activities
- • other – please specify
Do you have any experience or examples relevant to the UK where you believe HPMAs or similar have been effective or ineffective? Please provide any relevant evidence.
Do you see any challenges to the introduction of HPMAs? If so, how could these challenges be addressed? Please provide any relevant evidence.
Question 10: What is your opinion of the evidence for HPMAs? Where is more evidence required?
The UK already has a network of MPAs that includes Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs). How could HPMAs complement and enhance the current designations in English inshore and offshore waters and Northern Irish offshore waters?
Part 2: HPMA site selection
What evidence and factors should be considered when selecting sites for HPMAs and who should be engaged in the process?
Are there any locations where it would be particularly beneficial: (i) for a location to become an HPMA or (ii) an existing or part of an existing MPA to become an HPMA? Please could you state these and provide any relevant evidence.
Part 3: Future implementation and management of HPMAs
What would be the most appropriate way of managing and monitoring HPMAs? How do you think this could fit alongside existing marine management?
Part 4: Your past experience of the Marine Protected Areas (MPA) identification, designation, and management process
Have you been involved in the identification, designation or management of MPAs in the UK previously?
If yes please let us know
- the name of the MPA(s) and your role and involvement
- what worked well?
- what could be improved?
How has stakeholder and local knowledge been included in previous processes to introduce MPAs (inshore or offshore)? Please can you comment on whether and how this knowledge can better be integrated in future processes associated with HPMAs?
Part 5. Any other comments
Are there any other comments you would like to make in regard to HPMAs?
If you are already involved in this consultation with another organisation or personally you can still contribute to an IMarEST response so that we can represent a view of the membership, comments are not individually attributed so please feel free to send us a copy of your comments to technical imarest.org