The Government has published a 15 year strategy to deliver world class marine science which will inform decisions on food and energy security, managing the seas sustainably and climate change.
By coordinating marine science across Government, devolved administrations and agencies, the UK will become a world leader in marine environment science and expertise. This partnership approach comes at a time when the need for new knowledge about our oceans and seas has never been greater as we begin to understand the impact that climate change and our own behaviour has had on the Earth’s waters.
The new strategy, a recommendation from the House of Commons Select Committee Report “Investigating the Oceans”, has been developed in partnership with the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and with significant input from organisations and individuals with marine science interests. It provides a direction for future marine science by identifying three high level priority areas:
• Understanding how the marine ecosystem functions;
• Responding to climate change and its interaction with the marine environment; and
• Sustaining and increasing ecosystem benefits.
Launching the strategy, UK Marine Science Minister, Huw Irranca-Davies, said:
“Our seas and oceans are vital to our very existence, helping to provide us with the air we breathe and supporting eighty per cent of the world’s biodiversity. Seas and oceans also provide us with food and the means to generate renewable energy. Yet the seas and oceans are under pressure from human activities and climate change.
“Understanding how human activities affect the seas and oceans, and how the changes taking place will affect us, is key to making critical policy decisions to enable the marine environment to be managed sustainably. The UK Marine Science Strategy will help to ensure we have the evidence we need to support decisions which will affect generations to come.”
The UK Marine Science Strategy will be delivered through a cross-government committee, reporting to Ministers. This will ensure effective co-ordination of marine science across central government departments, devolved administrations and government agencies. The wider marine science community will also continue to contribute to the strategy and its delivery.
Priority actions that have been identified in a publicly available delivery plan include indentifying gaps in research and developing a more co-ordinated approach to the funding of long-term monitoring of our seas and oceans.
1. The UK Marine Science Strategy and associated delivery plan can be found at www.defra.gov.uk/environment/marine/science/mscc.htm and was launched at the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology.
2. The strategy was developed by the Marine Science Co-ordination Committee (MSCC) composed of representatives from: Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS), Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) , Department for International Development (DFID), Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), Department for Transport (DfT), Environment Agency, Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), Marine Scotland, Met Office, Ministry of Defence (MoD), Natural Environment Research Council, Northern Ireland Executive, Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), Scottish Government, Welsh Assembly Government and the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office. Three independent members also sit on the Committee.
3. In developing the strategy the MSCC engaged with a wide range of stakeholders with marine science interests through its website and a series of workshops held in London, Reading and Edinburgh.