Marine Protected Areas....a Natural England expert's overview

On Thursday 22 November Coastwise welcomed Dr Jen Ashworth, Principal Environmental Specialist Marine Evidence at Natural England.

We were very lucky to have Dr Ashworth, but fortunately she is the daughter of a Coastwise member and was equal to the task of getting to Barnstaple through the floods affecting the South West.

We heard an extremely impressive presentation on 'The evidence for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) - challenges and local opportunities'. This is a complex and very important subject but we were guided through it by just the right person.

Jen's work has covered the setting of standards for credibility and acceptance of data. Coastwise played a key role in the proposal of North Devon's Marine Conservation Zone (a type of MPA) sites, and Jen gave us an expert's view on the basis for the soon-to-be announced recommendations, consultation and monitoring process.

We also received an insight into the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, which is the next big thing in the marine world, and allows a broader assessment of the overall effect of MPAs.

Members came away heartened by the professionalism and passionate commitment to the cause of MPAs of Natural England its staff.


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