NAFC welcomes European Commission – Fishupdate.com

NAFC welcomes European Commission Published:  16 June, 2008

AS the European Union considers an Integrated Maritime Policy, DG MARE (the Directorate-General for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries) representative, Nicole Schaefer, visited the NAFC Marine Centre today to hear the Shetland perspective.

During the day, she heard an overview of Shetland’s economy and the work of the Centre in supporting a vital part of that.

She also toured the facilities before taking part in a session on ‘Marine Spatial Planning and Integrated Coastal Zone Management’ with video conference participants Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Highland Council.

This was followed by a presentation by Dr Lorraine Gray on the Shetland Marine Spatial Plan, which is intended to promote sustainable marine development through a more co-ordinated and robust framework than currently exists and is the main output from one of four pilot projects falling under the umbrella of the Scottish Sustainable Marine Environment Initiative.

This new initiative aims to increase Scotland’s knowledge of the marine environment, which can be used to inform the planning process and future conservation and fisheries management measures.

In her presentation, Lorraine provided an overview of the project, the processes taken in the lead up to the public consultation as well as examining how this regional scale project fits in with the new Marine Bill and the future direction her work will now take.

During her visit, Ms Schaefer said: “I have come here today to learn more about the Shetland marine spatial planning project.

“DG MARE is committed to producing a road map for maritime spatial planning by the end of the year.

“This road map will be a report that builds on member states’ experiences.

“It is very important to hear what member states are doing in terms of marine spatial planning and that is why I am visiting the NAFC Marine Centre today.

“Marine spatial planning is just one part of marine management and I wanted to find out more about the main challenges from a Shetland perspective.

“It has been a very valuable day.”

Tony Hawkins, director of NAFC Marine Centre, added: “It has been a real pleasure having Nicole visit the NAFC Marine Centre today.

“In many ways, Shetland is ahead of the rest of the UK and Europe in terms of marine spatial planning and this has been a great opportunity to show Nicole the breadth of work being undertaken at the Centre.”

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