The Future and Changing Context of the Irish Sea in the 2020s

Over the summer of 2020 the Irish Sea Maritime Forum, supported by the University of Liverpool, conducted an online survey to develop a comprehensive picture of the future for the Irish Sea and its communities on a whole Irish Sea scale. 

The aim of the survey was to discover and extend understanding of what makes the Irish Sea special for those who use it or live around it, identifying both challenges and opportunities, now and looking forward, for the Irish Sea’s businesses, communities and environment. To explore these questions a thematic approach was taken, but with the understanding that many issues are cross-cutting, particularly themes such as climate change.

Different stakeholders have different perspectives on the Irish Sea and its value to them. This survey captured a wide range of views on the reasons why the Irish Sea is an important and special place. From these a draft set of Irish Sea Headlines were developed. These will be tested and refined at the next Irish Sea Maritime Forum conference with a view to the headlines being a valuable tool for use by organisations developing policy or projects in the Irish Sea area.

The headlines are as follows: 

  • The diversity of wildlife and habitats of the Irish Sea are highly important and valued for their contribution to marine and coastal biodiversity and the network of Marine Protected Areas for internationally important species and habitats. As well as being important in its own right the natural environment of the Irish Sea offers benefits for climate change mitigation, amenity (e.g., recreational fishing, landscape value) and the health and wellbeing of both coastal communities and visitors to the Irish Sea and its surrounding regions. Threats to the Irish Sea include invasive non-native species, climate change and pollution, including plastics.
  • Socio-economic benefits deriving from working on and living in close proximity to the Irish Sea are important for Irish Sea communities:
    • Economic benefits: A wide range of coastal and maritime industries – in particular tourism, ports and shipping, fisheries and energy generation – support local jobs.
    • Social benefits: People enjoy the amenity value the Irish Sea and its coastline provide to them, including opportunities for recreation and exercise and the more intangible benefits for health and wellbeing provided by enjoying open spaces and attractive views.
  • Cross-border governance is a key feature of the Irish Sea, with six national administrations, and good governance and management of activities to provide long term environmental sustainability for the Irish Sea area are important to Irish Sea stakeholders.

As part of the research respondents were also asked to identify up to three top issues and opportunities for a range of thematic areas. Again, these findings will be tested and refined at the next Irish Sea Maritime Forum conference with a view to the research being a valuable tool for use by organisations developing policy or projects in the Irish Sea area.

The Executive Summary and the full report are available to download from the following links:

Executive Summary:

Download “Future-of-the-Irish-Sea-in-the-2020s-Executive-Summary.pdf” Future-of-the-Irish-Sea-in-the-2020s-Executive-Summary.pdf – Downloaded 18 times – 917 KB

Full report:

Download “Future-of-the-Irish-Sea-in-the-2020s-Final-Report.pdf” Future-of-the-Irish-Sea-in-the-2020s-Final-Report.pdf – Downloaded 27 times – 7 MB

Tags: , , , , , , ,