A Marine Protected Area (MPA) designation is one of the most potent tools for protecting a wide range of marine habitats. A layman interested in marine conservation might think that an MPA would be completely excluded from any activities, either commercial or recreational. The reality is much more complex and, depending on what any given MPA is set to protect, a variety of activities can take place inside its boundaries. That’s why developing MPA management plans based on scientific evidence, as well as feedback from local communities, is critically important.
To discuss this important part of the MarPAMM project our guests today are Amie Williams, Project Officer at Argyll MPA Planning & Data at Scottish Natural Heritage, Dr David Stevenson, MPA Management Policy Officer for Northern Ireland and PJ Maguire, MPA Management Policy Officer for Ireland. If you’re interested in this topic I would encourage you to check out other episodes of my podcast where we discuss various work packages of the MarPAMM project which is supported by the European Union’s INTERREG VA Programme.
Once again I have the pleasure to host scientists from the MarPAMM project. This time we discuss the Seabed Habitat Mapping and Modelling work package. Our guests are Dr Alex Callaway from the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (who was our guest on episode 104), Dr Chris McGonigle from the School of Geography and Environmental Sciences, Professor Andy Wheeler, Chair of Geology, from the School of Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences at University College Cork and Ger Summers also from the from University College Cork who is a PhD researcher in the MarPAMM project.
In our conversation, we discuss the importance of seabed mapping with a particular focus on so-called “species of interest”. We explore novel technologies and techniques that are being applied, such as autonomous underwater robots used for gathering data and the artificial intelligence models used for analysing it. We finish with my guests expressing their general views about the future of the oceans and our planet.