On 15th and 16th June 2016, around 100 delegates attended the first Sea Scotland conference, a national event dedicated to the field of Scottish marine planning and related marine management and conservation policy.
The event was hosted at the Discovery Point in Dundee – a city with a rich maritime heritage and track-record for innovation. The conference provided a forum for Scotland-focused dialogue on marine planning across all sectors. Experts in the field gathered to support knowledge exchange and a collaborative approach to addressing challenges in the implementation of marine spatial planning in Scotland. The conference was a partner-driven initiative involving the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology Scotland (MASTS), Scottish Environment LINK, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), the Royal Town Planning Institute Scotland (RTPI) and the universities of Aberdeen, Dundee and Edinburgh.
Sea Scotland 2016 followed an increasing level of interest from marine planners, stakeholders, policy-makers, politicians and industry representatives in the emerging field of marine planning. Delegates discussed perspectives on marine planning led by academic scientists, government representatives, environmental charities, the fishing industry and specialist marine consultants, as well as those involved in the Scottish process for delivering Regional Marine Plans. Presentations including Charles Ehler, one of the original marine planners who has worked across the world on marine planning projects, and Jeff Ardron from the Commonwealth Secretariat, who is involved in marine governance at a European level.
The conference included four workshops which focussed on different projects designed to help implement effective marine planning and deliver the objectives required by UK and European legislation (such as the Marine Strategy Framework Directive). The workshops covered the extent of the footprint of commercial fishing around Scotland, future trends in marine planning and possible scenarios for delivering it, how to promote public participation in marine planning decisions, and the National Coastal Change Assessment, a Scottish Project assessing the impact of coastal erosion.
There were also plenty of opportunities for socialising and networking, including a reception on board the RRS Discovery itself (featuring local Scottish fruit wine, Cairn O’Mhor) and a warming conference dinner (to compensate for the unseasonal weather!). The event had a very positive atmosphere and the feedback received so far has been very encouraging. The event received some media interest from the BBC’s Scotland 2016 and The Courier.
The conference evaluation process is taking place over the summer of 2016, so stay tuned for further updates. A full record of the event is captured via the #SeaScot16 conference app and non-delegates can access a detailed summary of the programme here. For any further information, or to discuss how you or your organisation might get involved at a future Sea Scotland conference, contact the organisers.