A series of surveys of Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) and Special Protection Areas (SPA) have commenced around the Irish coast.
The surveys are being carried out in order to facilitate the Government in meeting its obligation to develop management plans for a number SACs for habitats and SPAs for birds. The management plans will identify a range of conservation objectives which will, subsequently, be used to inform the conservation status of a particular site. In addition, licensed activities in these sites must be assessed in light of the conservation objectives.
The Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Food has directed that the Marine Institute - in cooperation with the National Parks and Wildlife Service ( NPWS) and Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) - commission a series of surveys of a number of SAC and SPA sites over the next three years.
This year’s surveys will be carried out throughout the months of August and September 2009. The sites have been selected on the basis of licensing needs for both fisheries and aquaculture. The surveys will constitute seabed investigations (grab, core and video sampling) of both inter-tidal and sub-tidal habitats and will likely encompass both licensed and unlicensed seabed areas. It is expected that additional European sites will be surveyed over the next number of years.
For further information on the surveys, contact Francis O'Beirn at the Marine Institute - Tel: 091 387 200 or Email: email@example.com.