The EC calls for the public, businesses and institutions to get involved in the development of their ambitious vision for an integrated Maritime Policy.
The CoastNet conference, hosted by the Marine Institute in Galway, brought together over 100 professionals through the COREPOINT partnership, who passionately debated the challenges and solutions. Concern was expressed about reinventing the wheel, and the meeting called upon the EC to learn from the experience already gained in integrated coastal zone management.
Seven countries and various sectors (eg. shipping, aquaculture, heritage and conservation) presented their own perspectives on the policy to the commission representative. Solutions such as marine spatial planning were proposed and debated by the participants.
The key issues to emerge were centred around the complexity of the oceans, society’s relationship with them. The adequacy of our knowledge of marine ecosystems as the basis for management, and how we can sustainably exploit the seas for economic benefit were central points. The concentration of activities on the coast was of concern to many, and it was recognised that our experience in managing the coast had wider applicability to the whole maritime territory. Alex MIdlen, Chairman of CoastNet commented, ‘The conference successfully started the debate on this new policy, but a question as yet unanswered was’ Can this ambitious vision be achieved?’
Mr Fernandez Deiz Picazo, from the European Commission, told the audience that their comments and proposals should be received by 30th June 2007. All submissions can be viewed at http://ec.europa.eu/maritimeaffairs