Over 100 stakeholders including fishermen, aquaculture operators, tourism operators, environmental groups, community groups and policy makers attended a seminar and workshop entitled "Clew Bay Coastal Zone Management - Responsibility towards Consensus" at the Atlantic Coast Hotel, Westport today. The aim of the event was to lay the foundations for the creation of an Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) framework for Clew Bay.
The seminar provided information on two EU funded coastal zone management projects focusing on Clew Bay and the BMW region: The Mayo County Council INTERREG IIIB COASTATLANTIC project and the Marine Institute's INTERREG IIIC AQUAREG project.
The overall objective of the INTERREG IIIB COASTATLANTIC project, that Mayo County Council are involved in, is to create a common vision regarding the ICZM for the Atlantic Area, identifying the specific characteristics of this area. The COASTATLANTIC project aims to stimulate a healthy and sustainable development of coastal areas from an environmental, social and economical standpoint through integrated spatial planning and the implementation of its management.
Mayo County Council are one of five partners that form the NASC Irish Partnership involved in the COASTATLANTIC project. The main focus of Mayo County Council's project is on stakeholder involvement and the thematic area of coastal access. Ms. Carina McGinty, Mayo Co. Council explained, "A core part of the project is to get the stakeholders involved at the local level and to identify the key issues in the Clew Bay area, this will provide the basis for a ICZM framework. The coastal access part of the project concentrates on beach management looking at Bertra beach in Westport. These two elements will feed into the Irish partnership and ultimately into the creation of a common vision for the Atlantic Area"
The objective of the Marine Institute's INTERREG IIIC AQUAREG project is to facilitate the complimentary development of the aquaculture industry and inshore fisheries in Ireland, Trondelag (Norway) and Galicia (Spain). The project will review existing aquaculture management practices in the three regions identifying the strengths and gaps in approaches through direct communication with the relevant bodies and through feedback from the stakeholders in each region. A code of practice will be produced and a pilot study will be performed in each of the three regions to test the theory in practice and ultimately a handbook of how to implement the common code of practice will be published.
"The workshop provided an opportunity for the wide variety of stakeholders in the coastal zone to get actively involved in discussions concerning the key issues in the area of Clew Bay and to give their views on the sustainable future of the coastal zone" said Oisín Naughton, Marine Institute.
This workshop and seminar hosted by Mayo County Council and the Marine Institute in association with the Clew Bay Marine Forum and Bord Iascaigh Mhara, are the first steps in a long-term process. The aim is to develop, through a process of consensus, an Integrated Coastal Zone Management Framework for Clew Bay.