The Marine and Coastal Access Act - A hornet's nest?
Appleby, T. P. and Jones, P. J. (2011) The Marine and Coastal Access Act - A hornet's nest? Marine Policy, 36 (1). pp. 73-77. ISSN 0308-597X
Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2011.03.009
The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 is now enacted into law. This paper looks at predictions made about new law by one of the authors, Peter Jones, in his paper The Marine Bill: Cornucopia or Pandora’s Box and assesses how successful the Act has been in turning aspirations into law. The paper focuses on the following areas: ecosystem protection, stakeholder engagement, marine spatial planning and the provision of a network of highly protected marine reserves, and raises concerns that the ecosystem approach has progressively been dropped in the drafting process of the legislation. Concerns are raised that the new Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities have similar inherent conflicts of interest to those exhibited by Sea Fisheries Committees, which they sought to replace. The effectiveness of marine planning is questioned, as there appear to be inbuilt loopholes for public authorities to avoid complying with the marine plans. The draft marine policy statement (MPS), published in July 2010, includes appropriate environmental safeguards, but the MPS has not yet been formally adopted. The absence of a concrete target for highly protected marine reserves means there is a danger that designations under the Act may have little effect on the ground. In conclusion the Act provides some new mechanisms for marine protection, but arguably does not yet provide a framework for implementing the ecosystem approach and is not an end in itself.
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