Cross-Channel conference on science and governance of the Channel Marine Ecosystem

Plymouth University supported a conference in Caen, which brought experts together to promote the effective governance of cross-Channel ecosystems. 

The Centre for Marine and Coastal Policy Research at the University is the lead partner in the PEGASEAS project – (Promoting Effective Governance of the Channel Ecosystem) from the INTERREG IVA programme made up of 12 partners – and aims to identify a common ground to tackling ecological and environmental changes to the Channel ecosystem. 

This conference, which took place at Caen University on 2 and 3 July 2014, was also led by the Upper Normandy Region, the University of Caen Basse-Normandie, IFREMER, and Devon County Council. 

Entitled ‘Science and Governance of the Channel Marine Ecosystem’, the forum examined how science can best inform governance decisions relating to the English Channel. The project partners launched the PEGASEAS “Compendium” at the event and this is the second of three PEGASEAS Cross Channel Forum events. The first was held in Southampton on April 8 2014, and the final event will take place in the autumn. The details for the autumn event will be posted soon on the project website.

An experienced EU project/programme manager, Deborah Loughran, manages the PEGASEAS project with Drs Steve Fletcher and Gillian Glegg. Dr Angela Carpenter is a Research Fellow on the project and Rebecca Shellock, also of Plymouth University, works on PEGASEAS as a Research Assistant. 

Deborah said: “We take the Channel for granted, but when you look at the key elements of its use, for instance, food supply, renewable energy production and travel, it is important that we gain a better understanding of the changes occurring now so that we can manage its use in the future.” 

The PEGASEAS project merges cross-Channel science and policy-making. Its aim is to bring together research across fields such as biodiversity, ecosystem management, marine conservation, coastal management, blue growth, managing the human use of the Channel, and scientific research so that it can identify common and relevant governance outcomes, outputs and lessons learnt. When brought together, the results of these projects will offer new insights and provide clear, powerful, communicable and compelling advice to support improved governance of the Channel Marine ecosystem.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, who was representing Devon County Council and the Local Government Association, commented: “We all too easily underestimate the value of our coasts and seas.  They are very important to our local communities and visitors.  Scientists have a lot to offer to help the right decisions to be made so we are keen to work with them.” 

The Forum presented an opportunity to learn about and discuss marine research related to the Channel. 

Jean-Paul Robin (University of Caen Basse-Normandie) added: “Scientists from English and French universities and research institutes are working together in a study of the Channel marine environment. They found the INTERREG program to be an effective framework to organise and allow stakeholders to take into account the outputs of their studies on the interactions between people and the environment. The University of Caen Basse-Normandie and IFREMER are pleased to welcome representatives from various domains to this forum.” 

For more information, visit the project website, and PEGASEAS Project Manager Deborah Loughran can be contacted for details of projects, promotions and events, at deborah.loughran@plymouth.ac.uk.

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