Edwin Poots, Northern Ireland’s environment minister, believes the long term ‘resilience and sustainability’ of our seas depends on a partnership approach to protecting the marine environment.

The minister was delivering the opening address at the Brave New Ocean conference, organised by the Ulster Wildlife Trust last Friday (4 September).

He said: “Northern Ireland’s seas support around half of our biodiversity, including many threatened marine animal and plant species, some of which are found nowhere else in the world.

“We also rely on the marine environment for food, energy, aggregates and leisure provision. That is why its protection is of paramount importance.”

Mr Poots went on to say he was committed with working with the UK Government in partnership to manage marine activities and protect the seas.

The UK Marine and Coastal Access Bill is due to establish a partnership framework from which reforms in Northern Ireland will be created.

Marine legislation will be introduced using a combination of the UK Bill and a specific NI Marine Bill.

Luke Walsh

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