Marine and Coastal Policy Research Unit

Welcome to MarCoPol

The aim of the Marine and Coastal Policy Research Unit (MarCoPol) is to provide a sound scientific, social, legal and economic basis for improved policy and management for the sustainable use and protection of the marine and coastal environment.

<p>Beach with seaguls&nbsp;</p>

Marine Parks for Coastal Cities

MarCoPol researchers with expertise in maritime law, marine ecology, marine policy, social science and ecological economics are working together to help build a novel community-focused vision for a marine park that is suited to coastal cities. The team is now developing a vision for a non-statutory community-focused marine park for the Plymouth region marine and coastal space. The concept would utilise the many existing designations and protections that already exist, not adding to them but focusing instead upon facilitating and enabling greater community engagement with the marine and coastal space. The project has provided briefing papers and presentations to the community and the research is ongoing.

Plymouth Marine Park presentation (PDF)

Presented to Local Authorities 31 July 2018 (PDF)

Publication: Marine parks for coastal cities: A concept for enhanced community well-being prosperity and sustainable city living (PDF)

Ecosystem services and marine governance

Research at the centre is at the forefront of efforts to assess and value the ecosystem services provided by the marine environment. Marine ecosystem services are the benefits delivered to society by the functions of a healthy marine ecosystem. An understanding of the value of ecosystem services supports good marine governance by providing a lens through which to take account of the costs and benefits to different policy options to society. Researchers in the centre use this lens to evaluate the impacts of Marine Protected Areas, as well as exploring it as a tool for stakeholder engagement.

Fishing boats

Biodiversity science for marine policy

Biodiversity research in the centre addresses the conservation of marine biodiversity in a holistic manner, recognising that marine conservation takes place within a complex socio-ecological context. Researchers at the centre are directly involved in the research and development of ecosystem indicators for tracking environmental change in relation to policy frameworks, as well as research into space use of mobile species to inform and evaluate management measures.


Marine environmental law and cultural heritage

Law research within the centre focuses on informing policy and practice for the sustainable use and protection of the marine environment. Researchers within the centre work closely with regulatory bodies in areas including the legal protection of habitats, fisheries management and renewable energy, as well as the protection of marine cultural heritage.


</p><div>Offshore wind turbine in a wind farm under construction off the England coast at sunset.</div>

Seascape of Whitsands Bay, Clouds in a blue sky.