Minister urges the public to have their say on monitoring the health of our seas

Date published: 08 October 2020

Environment Minister Edwin Poots MLA has urged people in Northern Ireland to help Government to achieve the UK wide vision for clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse seas by having their say on proposals for marine monitoring programmes.

Daera Minister Edwin Poots
Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister Edwin Poots MLA

The Marine Strategy Part Two: UK Updated Monitoring Programmes sets out the monitoring programmes we propose to use to measure progress towards Good Environmental Status in UK seas.  It notes the progress we have made in the last six years and identifies the gaps and opportunities we aim to address over the next six year cycle.

Minister Poots said: “This is a UK wide consultation, but one which takes into consideration the specific needs of each region. It is an opportunity for our citizens to help shape plans for monitoring the health of our seas.”

The proposals have been jointly published by Defra, DAERA and the Scottish and Welsh Governments and emphasise the UK Government’s continued commitment to work together at national, regional and international level.

Minister Poots added: “The proposals outlined in the Marine Strategy Part Two: UK Updated Monitoring Programmes reinforces Northern Ireland’s continued support for the UK wide vision for clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse seas.”

We want to know what you think about the updated marine monitoring programmes proposed under the UK Marine Strategy Part Two. These monitoring programmes, first announced in 2014, were set out to gather evidence on the status of different parts of the UK marine environment. We have updated them to include further monitoring that will improve the quality of our assessments and developments since 2014. We want to know if you think the updated programmes meet the requirements of the associated legislation and if they provide the evidence needed to assess the status of UK seas. We want to know if any other monitoring is needed to assess our progress towards the UK Marine Strategy targets and if you are aware of any monitoring being carried out which we have not covered, but which could improve our assessments.

Minister Poots added: "Gathering this information will help us bridge knowledge gaps in order to ensure the healthiest state possible for the seas around Northern Ireland. For that reason I am in full support of the UK wide approach contained in this consultation process.”

Northern Ireland’s input into the proposed monitoring programmes and the development of the consultation has been organised by the Marine Strategy Team in DAERA’s Marine and Fisheries Division.

The public consultation is live until November 17 and is aimed at all groups and individuals who use the sea.

The consultation and information on how to respond has been published on Citizen Space, listed on (

Notes to editors: 

1. During the consultation, if you have any enquiries or wish to receive hard copies of the documents, please contact:

2. Further information on the implementation of the UK Marine Strategy can be found in the UK Marine Strategy Part One, Part Two and Part Three which are all published on

3. Comments on the assessment of UK seas and targets set out in the updated UK Marine Strategy Part One or Part Three are not being sought during this consultation.

4. Updates to these will be made in 2021 (Part Three) and 2024 (Part One).

5. Monitoring programmes covered in this updated programme cover cetaceans, seals, birds, fish, pelagic habitats, benthic habitats, non-indigenous species, commercial fish, food webs, eutrophication, contaminants, contaminants in seafood, marine litter, underwater noise and the ocean processes (ocean acidification, temperature, salinity, turbidity and waves) which are used to support the monitoring of hydrographical conditions and climate change.

6. Written responses can be submitted online via the citizen space consultation hub at Defra

7. Responses can also be emailed to

8. Responses can also be posted to:

Marine Strategy Team,
4th Floor Nobel House, 1
7 Smith Square,

9. Responses must be submitted by November 17 2020.

10. At the end of the consultation period a summary of the responses can be found on Copies of responses will be made available to the public on request. If you do not want your response – including your name, contact details and any other personal information – to be publicly available, please say so clearly in writing when you send your response to the consultation. Please note, if your computer automatically includes a confidentiality disclaimer, this will not count as a confidentiality request.

11. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office at

12. Follow DAERA on Twitter and Facebook: and

13. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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