Press Release

UCC Hosts First National Coastal Conference – 13 April 2007

The impact of housing developments including holiday homes, climate change, and the consequences of the ban on drift netting for salmon, are among some of the issues facing coastal communities. The need for better management of our coastal resources to sustain coastal communities has been on the agenda in Ireland’s first national coastal conference, hosted in UCC, today and yesterday.

165 delegates have gathered together from coastal communities, government agencies, academic institutions and coastal industries. Delegates and speakers have indicated an overwhelming level of support for processes to be put in place that will provide for Integrated Coastal Zone Management. The Department of Communications, Marine and Natural Resources (DCMNR), who are responsible for foreshore administration, announced that a review of legislation and a strategic framework for coastal management will be facilitated.

Valerie Cummins, director of UCC’s Coastal and Marine Research Centre, and conference organiser, welcomed the announcement and pointed towards the benefits of the conference in pushing the agenda forward. The conference has been organised as part of a new initiative to provide an Irish Coastal Network (ICoNet), which brings together scientists, policy maker, practitioners and other stakeholders working in the coastal zone. Representatives from statutory agencies include the DCMNR (including closing remarks from the General Secretary, Mr. Brendan Tuohy), the Marine Institute, the National Parks and Wildlife Service, Údarás Na Gaeltachta, Bord Iascaigh Mhara, the Heritage Council and others. The conference was sponsored by the DCMNR.

According to Val Cummins, we need to optimise existing frameworks for enforcement and compliance with regulations pertaining to the coastal zone, to deal with issues ranging from beach safety to safeguarding biodiversity. More support must also be given to facilitate the role of community groups who are highly active in promoting their local beaches and waterfronts.

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