Marine Protected Areas

Working to protect marine life

We want to work with all stakeholders to ensure that Ireland becomes a world leader in marine conservation. By rebuilding the health and resilience of our Ocean, Ireland can help to turn the tide on our biodiversity and climate crisis, all the while benefitting fishers and broader society.

Our vision is that Ireland should become a world leader in marine conservation. To achieve the Irish government should pioneer’s ocean protection within the EU by putting in place ambitious legislation and highly protecting at least 10 percent of its Exclusive Economic Zone by 2025, with a clear pathway for realising at least 30 percent by 2030. 30 percent should be seen as a minimum target and if there is good reason to go beyond this target then Ireland should do so.

We call on the government to expand Ireland’s network of Marine Protected Areas such that it is coherent, representative, connected and resilient and meets Ireland’s commitments under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, the OSPAR Convention, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity Aichi target 11 and the UN Sustainable Development Goal 14, Life Below Water amongst others.

The Irish Programme for Government (PFG) states that the government support the principles and ambition of the EU Biodiversity Strategy and will develop comprehensive legislation for the identification, designation, and management of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Irish territorial waters. This is supported by Irish citizens over 90% of whom strongly agree that more action needs to be taken to improve the health of the ocean.

To achieve this the government should adopt an ambitious framework, timeline and budget to deliver best practice consultation, designation, monitoring and management of an ecologically coherent network of well-managed and well-resourced MPAs which protect and restore marine ecosystems within Irelands EEZ. As soon as possible the government should start engaging stakeholders in the process of developing the list of features we wish to protect. The Irish government should urgently start drafting ambitious legislation for the designation and effective delivery of an ecologically coherent network of well-managed and well-resourced MPAs, which protects and restores the marine environment and enshrines the whole site approach in law.

We look forward to working with all stakeholders over the coming years to integrate marine conservation and sustainable fisheries management in Ireland and across the North-east Atlantic. We believe that through improved conservation and management we can rebuild the health and resilience of our Ocean, benefitting marine biodiversity, fishers, and border society.


Expanding Ireland’s Marine Protected Area Network

Our submission in response to the public consultation on Expanding Ireland’s Marine Protected Area Network.