Scotland’s marine conference sets sail in Dundee for the second time
This year’s conference took place on Wednesday 21st June at Discovery Point in Dundee.
Sea Scotland 2017 built on the successes of the inaugural Sea Scotland conference, bringing together a wide range of marine stakeholders, including fishing interests, energy, shipping, tourism, conservation bodies, academics and international experts along with national government, regulatory authorities and national consultees.
Given the outcome of the vote to leave the European Union, delegates discussed the implications of constitutional change on environmental policy to secure progress to sustainable development. Keynote speakers Roseanna Cunningham Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform; and Susan Davies, Director of Conservation at the Scottish Wildlife Trust spoke on Scotland’s activities post-EU Referendum in relation to sustainable development.
International experts, Colin Moffat from Marine Scotland and Mark Tasker from ICES, presented on non-EU mechanisms – such as OSPAR and ICES – already in place to support continued progress.
Critical topics such as conservation, science and governance were key themes throughout the day. Delegates from across the spectrum of marine industry, government, NGO, academia and community interests took part in roundtable discussions and workshops to collaboratively address the sustainable use of Scotland’s seas. See the programme here.
Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “Sea Scotland is an opportunity to discuss the progress we have made to protect our marine environment and how we can ensure that it is used sustainably and in line with scientific advice in years to come. We recognise the EU has provided a strong framework for marine protection and implementation of international conventions, and we have also hugely benefitted from EU funding and from the skills and hard work of EU nationals who have chosen to live and work in Scotland. The Scottish Government has been clear, we will not allow Brexit to be used as an excuse to roll back our hard-won environmental protections. We take our duty to protect Scotland’s rich marine environment extremely seriously as it underpins our economy, our health and our way of life and we will do all we can to protect it to the same high standards, and safeguard it for future generations.”
Calum Duncan, Convenor of Scottish Environment LINK’s Marine Group and Head of Conservation Scotland for the Marine Conservation Society said: “Scotland is required to achieve sustainable development for our seas. In practice, this means delivering socially just and equitable use of marine resources within the environmental limits of the sea’s capacity to replenish them. We may not know exactly where we are on the road to marine recovery, but the important point is that, regardless of constitutional arrangements, all agree the trajectory must be to improve the health of our seas, both for their intrinsic value and the many benefits they provide. We look forward to this important conference providing an opportunity for stakeholders to help explore this together.”
Lucy Greenhill, MASTS Marine Planning and Governance Forum Convenor, said: “Our conference aims to facilitate progressive action during this period of significant uncertainty by enabling debate on the risks and opportunities for marine sustainable development. MASTS is proud to support continued interaction between government, sea users and the scientific community, to achieve effective governance of Scotland’s marine resources.”
Sam Gardner, Acting Director at WWF Scotland said: “Scottish seas are productive yet fragile ecosystems that require best practice in marine planning. The Sea Scotland Conference is gaining real traction as the go-to forum to discuss how a restored and thriving Scottish marine environment could provide for future generations.”
The conference evaluation process is taking place over the summer of 2017, so stay tuned for further updates. A full record of the event is captured via the #SeaScot17 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.