It was clear at the workshop that there is a common purpose and shared determination between fisheries, anglers, ports, mariculture, offshore infrastructure and the coastal leisure industry to protect our seas.
Steve Conlon, from the Irish Marine Federation says The PISCES workshop enabled us to understand how each activity impacts each other and the sea. It helped to establish trust between the many different groups involved and I found the whole process a rewarding experience."
PISCES, a marine project co-funded by EC LIFE+, brings people together across industries and countries to produce practical guidelines for the people, and by the people, who use the Celtic Sea. The guidelines will provide principles for ensuring sustainable activities in the Celtic Sea.
The Celtic Sea is an area that includes the coasts of three different countries, France, UK - England & Wales - and Ireland. The project also includes Spanish fisheries that operate in these waters. The Celtic Sea needs protecting because people depend on the sea for vital resources such as food and energy as well intangible aspects like climate regulation and contribution to quality of life.
The aim of PISCES is to develop a set of practical guidelines that all users of the Celtic Sea can follow to promote a healthy marine environment and sustainable industries. These guidelines consider all the elements of the sea - its wildlife, physical processes and human interactions. The project recognises that flourishing ecosystems are vital for both wildlife and people's livelihoods.
John Wrottesley, from Global Marine Systems in the UK, says "The workshop was a great chance for Celtic Sea users to get together and discuss their sector's needs and concerns about how an ecosystem approach might work for them. It was very useful and informative, but there is still a lot of work to come!"
The final guidelines will be communicated to the wider world in 2012. This is perfect timing as countries work to identify the practical steps needed to deliver the Marine Strategy Framework Directive. This EC Directive requires Member States to achieve or maintain 'Good Environmental Status' by 2020.
One year before the planned conclusion of the project there are real signs that we can work collectively to achieve a sustainable environment that benefits everyone and protects the sea.
*The PISCES Celtic Sea area also includes the Western Channel.