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Northern Ireland Environment Link Logo
 

News

 

Events

 

May 2018 right left

 
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Dry Stone Walling

Sunday 6th May
Mourne Mountains
Free

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An Evening Walk in Spring

Saturday 12th May
Belfast Area
Free

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Gilford Castle, Gilford Village, Co Armagh – Historic Garden Restoration

Sunday 20th May
Gilford Castle, Gilford Village, Co–Armagh
Free

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Marine

Northern Ireland benefits from approximately 650km of coastline and its marine area is a major environmental and economic asset for the region. It is home to a number of productive and diverse ecosystems, supports industries such as aquaculture, fishing and tourism and offers potential for the growth of marine renewables.

Marine

Our marine environment is under severe environmental pressure. Toxic algal blooms, nutrient–enriched estuaries, over–exploited commercial fish stocks, invasive species, habitat destruction, increasing sea temperatures, coastal erosion, littered beaches and sewage pollution are all having negative impacts.

Our seas are not a limitless resource and we need to develop an approach to regulating activities which will allow sustainable marine management and development. Marine planning is a tool which will facilitate the sustainable development of the marine area, based on a balanced consideration of economic, social and environmental factors while taking account of the costs and benefits of key marine activities.

NIEL is a member of the Marine Task Force (MTF), which actively campaigned for the introduction of comprehensive marine legislation for Northern Ireland. The subsequent introduction of the Northern Ireland Marine Act in September 2013 therefore marked a key moment for Northern Ireland’s marine environment and our long running campaign. The NI Marine Act is NI’s primary contribution to the EU goal of having healthy seas by the year 2020. The Act creates a new type of marine protected area called Marine Conservation Zones (MCZ’s) and allows Northern Ireland to plan the sustainable use of the seas for future generations. However, the work of implementing the Act has now begun in earnest and the MTF will be heavily involved in ensuring that it will deliver all that it can for our precious and vulnerable marine ecosystem.

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The Northern Ireland marine area consists of 650km of coastline, with over 10,000 hectares of shore lying between the High and Low water marks.

The fishing industry consists of 251 vessels whose catch in 2008 was valued at £23.2 million by DARD.

In 2009, 36 cruise ships brought 57,000 visitors to Belfast worth £16 million to the local economy.

It is estimated that by 2020 the value of offshore renewable energy could be as high as £880 million.

Over 91% of the Northern Ireland Marine area maintains ASSI designation (Areas of Special Scientific Interest).

Coastal areas support all cities in NI, with the vast majority of the population living within 60km of marine waters.

In 2012, 16 of the 23 beaches monitored in Northern Ireland achieved the EC Bathing Water Directive guideline standards, compared with 20 out of 24 beaches in 2011.

Almost 90% (compared to less than half in 2011) of marine water bodies around Northern Ireland’s shores were classified as high or good in 2012, with the remaining waterbody areas being classified as moderate.

In 2011, as in 2010, all ten designated shellfish waters achieved the mandatory standard and there were no exceedences of the dangerous substances standards in shellfish waters.