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Why have PISCES?

Puffin

…because the Celtic Sea* needs protecting

People depend on the Celtic Sea* for vital resources such as food and energy, and it makes a significant contribution to the European economy. For example the fisheries sector in the South West of the UK is worth about €187 million alone.

The region is renowned for its spectacular coastline from dramatic cliff tops to sweeping mudflats teeming with wading birds. It is home to a variety of important breeding birds, seals, dolphins and whales - even turtles are spotted in these waters. The rich plankton blooms are responsible for the region’s high biodiversity and have historically attracted vast shoals of commercial fish.

But the Celtic Sea* can no longer boast seemingly endless resources and it is in urgent need of protection. This is one of the most heavily used seas on the planet and both the ecosystem and people’s livelihoods are under threat – from pollution, over-fishing, shipping and extraction of aggregates and other resources.

Individually these activities may be sustained by the ecosystem, but collectively they pose a threat to marine biodiversity and people’s livelihoods.

Across the world we’re continuing to lose marine biodiversity at an alarming rate and sadly the Celtic Sea* is following this global trend.

But there are solutions if we act fast and work together.



Footprints on the beach

…because we have the policy to drive us

Our terrestrial environment has been afforded protection for decades but until recently there has been very little legislation to protect and manage our marine environment. However, mechanisms are beginning to be put in place to improve marine management.

The UK government introduced a Marine and Coastal Access Act in 2009, which will enable it to manage and protect its seas in a more strategic and holistic way. The European Commission introduced the 2008 Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) to improve Europe’s seas, advocating the ecosystem approach to marine management.

The ecosystem approach encourages a holistic attitude to biodiversity, conservation and resource use, while reversing damage to the marine environment and promoting sustainable livelihoods. But as yet, there’s no legally recognised definition of the ecosystem approach. Nor are there statutory guidelines on how it should be implemented. The PISCES project is leading the way, by aiming to promote a better understanding of what this approach means in practice in the Celtic Sea*.

Underwater shoal

…because we need to work together

A cross-sectoral approach is essential so that multi-national, different groups can develop a common understanding and co-operation of how to safeguard the future for themselves and others.

PISCES will be working across industries, countries and cultures in France, Ireland, Wales, England and Spain to create practical guidelines for the people and by the people who use the Celtic Sea*.

* includes Western Channel

Net full of Scallops