The Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage invites observations, views and comments on the review and development of Ireland’s Marine Strategy Part 3: Programme of Measures, under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD, 2008/56/EC).
Ireland’s MSFD Programme of Measures will be developed in 2022 to ensure we have clean, healthy, biologically diverse and sustainably used, marine waters.
Why are we launching this consultation?
The sea that surrounds us is part of our history, our economy and our way of life. We rely on it for food, to help regulate our climate, for energy and raw materials, as a source of recreation and inspiration and to support jobs. It is home to a vast range of marine biodiversity and contains globally important populations of many marine species.
The evidence is clear. Scientists around the world conclude that the health of the ocean, including the North Atlantic, is at risk and that action is needed to address the loss of biodiversity and the functioning of the marine ecosystems.
over-exploitation of living resources
damage to the seabed.
Marine litter, including microplastics, continues to blight our seas and cause impacts on the marine environment.
Climate change is also causing fundamental and possibly irreversible changes to the ocean. These changes include warming of the sea, rising sea levels and loss of oxygen. Increased levels of carbon dioxide are also causing the ocean to become more acidic.
The Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD)
is the mechanism by which EU Member States set policy on the marine environment and, amongst other things, take action to tackle these challenges and achieve a clean, healthy, biologically diverse and sustainably used marine environment. Within the Directive this is known as good environmental status (GES).
Core to the work of achieving our goal of good environmental status is ensuring that interested parties (the public, stakeholders, maritime sectors and others) have the chance to participate in the process. This consultation forms part of that participation and focuses specifically on the measures Ireland intends to put in place to achieve good environmental status.
In 2020 Ireland updated its environmental targets from 2013 to describe what a healthy sea should look like (see background documents below). The actions (known as the programme of measures or PoM) Ireland proposes to put in place are designed to meet these targets.
These environmental targets form part of the National Marine Planning Framework
and through its implementation aim to ensure that human activity is at sustainable levels and that the ecosystem is protected.
One measure, which is specifically required under the Directive, is the development of Marine Protected Areas (MPA’s). Stand-alone legislation to enable the identification, designation and management of MPAs in accordance with Ireland’s national and international commitments is ongoing. Information on the development of Ireland’s MPA network
can be found here.
We are inviting consultation on the revision of the Programme of Measures to give interested parties the chance propose new measures to sustain and improve the health of our seas.
What is Irelands Marine Strategy Part 3: Programme of Measures?
In 2016, Ireland’s initial programme of measures (PoMs) was developed. The PoMs includes specific initiatives to ensure Irelands Maritime Area reaches its environmental targets. Ireland is now beginning a review of these measures. This will include the assessment of current measures and the development of new measures.
The Marine Strategy Part 2 is built on the policy frameworks already in existence and the measures arising from these. Therefore, a significant part of all member states PoMs consists of various existing measures under other legislation. For example, reporting of all relevant Water Framework Directive measures requires the provision of a list of the relevant WFD measure codes.
Where the measures identified prove insufficient, member states are expected to formulate additional measures. Member states have been asked to revise their PoMs this year, as part of the last stage of cycle 2.
How you can get involved
We are inviting any interested parties (e.g. individual persons or groups) to provide comments and make submissions on the Programme of Measures review. To get involved, please use Chrome/Edge/Safari/Firefox browsers to complete and submit the online survey (It may not load correctly on Internet Explorer).
To assist you with your submission a public consultation document which includes factsheets for each descriptor can be found under the heading 'Documents' below. Irelands’ Article 8, 9 and 10 report on the assessment of GES is also provided.
You do not have to respond to every question in the consultation. If you have a specific area of interest, you are free to respond just on that topic.
All submissions must be entered by 5pm on Friday 20 May 2022
Please note that the survey is entirely anonymous and that it can be saved and stored temporarily before you complete it and submit it online.
If you are unable to use the online survey you can send your completed survey form by email. You can also send in other views, observations or material using the contact details below:
All comments submitted to the Department are subject to release under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2014 and the European Communities (Access to Information on the Environment) Regulations 2007-2014. Comments are also subject to Data Protection legislation. Please see privacy statement under the documents section for more details.