The Marine Institute has recently successfully bid for PANACHE an EU INTERREG Priority 4, Objective 2 project with a global budget of 4.8 million Euros. The aim of PANACHE is to develop a stronger and more coherent approach to the management, monitoring and involvement of stakeholders for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the Channel. There are significant efforts taking place in England and France to utilise MPAs to meet European and International biodiversity protection obligations; this project will provide the mechanism to ensure that approaches being taken on either side of the Channel are more coherent and effective. The project brings together 14 partners with technical, stakeholder engagement and management expertise and will be led by the French MPA Agency.

​This project is closely aligned with VALMER and together both projects will focus on improved management, sustainable use and protection of the Channel marine area. PANACHE will lead to a common approach to the way that MPAs are managed, monitored, and will also look at MPAs on a regional scale to evaluate whether the current and proposed network of areas meets ecological coherence criteria. It will jointly develop a programme of stakeholder awareness and citizen science across the Channel area that will increase awareness of MPAs amongst key community and stakeholder groups. In delivering these objectives, the project will build much closer co-operation between English and French government agencies, scientific institutions, private enterprises and voluntary organisations.

Two key PANACHE work packages of are being led by staff from the Marine Institute. Dr Emma Jackson will be developing a methodology to enable the existing MPA network to be assessed for its ecological coherence criteria established in science and international convention. Dr Sian Rees, Dr Emma Sheehan and Dr Lynda Rodwell and will build on their experience of the ecological and socio-economic monitoring of Marine Protected Areas in the UK to work towards developing a transferable approach to monitoring MPAs in the Channel area.

Professor Martin Attrill, Director of the Marine Institute states that,

“Involvement in the PANACHE project will build on the expertise of the MI research staff in the planning and management of MPAs, enable European collaboration and raise our profile as leaders in the development of methodologies for MPA monitoring and assessing ecological coherence.”