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This will help to establish common ground for participants to make progress on an issue.

Towards Marine Resilience in Wales

Following the worst of the Covid pandemic marine and fisheries stakeholders, who were the Wales Marine Action and Advisory Group, came together to consider how best to support sustainable development actions to both help coastal communities to recover, and to achieve our vision of Welsh seas that are clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse.

Our coasts and seas make a significant contribution to our lives and well-being. The Welsh Marine Zone doubles the size of Wales. Being a coastal nation, our coasts, seas and fishing heritage are a vital part of our culture and language. Intrinsically, our seas are awesome places, home to an array of fascinating habitats and wonderful sea creatures. The sea’s natural resources and ecosystems provide biodiversity, renewable energy, healthy protein, carbon storage, building materials, and support fishing and aquaculture, tourism, recreation and cultural inspiration as well as health benefits and global connectivity.

Resilient marine ecosystems, underpinned by thriving habitats and species, are fundamental to both nature and socio-economic recovery. The improved benefits we would get from restored and recovered habitats include increased fish and shellfish production, improved coastal protection, further opportunities for sustainable businesses, and greater capacity for adaptation to climate change. 

These ecosystems and the benefits they provide are under pressure from our increased use of natural resources, pollution and climate change. In addition, we cannot deny the need to move away from burning fossil fuels for energy and towards renewable forms of energy which can be generated in abundance from our seas. It is essential that the way we manage our natural resources in Wales respects both the climate and nature emergencies, balancing the opportunities with the impacts on biodiversity and communities.

In Wales, we have many existing approaches, people and projects seeking to support marine ecosystems and the benefits we receive from them. However, we need to do more, and we need to do it faster, using our resources effectively. Three areas of work have been identified to accelerate and enable action for our environment, economy, social and cultural well-being:

  • Ocean Literacy – building understanding of how people, communities and businesses across Wales connect with Welsh coasts and seas, the impact of our collective and individual actions on the ocean’s health and how the ocean’s health impacts our everyday lives, leading to improvements in how we manage and use our coasts and seas;
  • Sustainable Investment – securing innovative and longer-term forms of public, private and blended finance will help deliver key objectives, including restoring Marine Protected Areas and transforming socio-economic systems;
  • Building capacity – enabling collaboration and co-production to encourage co-ordinated action, locally within our communities, nationally and cross border, to respond to changing needs and conditions as the pressures on our coasts and seas increase.

Over the next three years, the renamed Wales Coasts and Seas Partnership will work together, and with partners, stakeholders and local communities, to identify and deliver these three themes through a programme of work, to underpin our vision and ambitions for resilient coasts and seas.