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Network statement and progress report

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We are working with the other UK administrations to establish a network of Marine Protected Areas.

We are working with the other UK administrations to establish a network of Marine Protected Areas. When sites are planned and managed as a network they can provide more benefits that they could as individual areas. We’ve agreed a statement with the other UK administrations to explain what this means in practice.

The Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009 requires the Welsh Government to report to the National Assembly for Wales every 6 years on the progress we have made in using conservation sites to contribute to a UK network of marine protected areas.

The most recent report was published in 2014 and is available below. It covers the marine area out to 12 nautical miles from the shore, which is the part of the network that we are responsible for.

To understand how well Welsh marine protected areas contribute towards the wider network the Joint Nature Conservation Committee and Natural Resources Wales have undertaken an assessment of progress in Wales. The results of this work are provided in the report;

Assessing the contribution of Welsh MPAs towards an ecologically coherent MPA network in 2016.


There are a number of national and international commitments that the Welsh Government, alongside the other UK administrations, has signed up to for the protection of marine biodiversity supporting sustainable use of our seas. A number of these commitments include contributing to a coherent network of marine protected areas:

  • The UK Marine Policy Statement - the UK administrations are committed to completing an ecologically coherent network of marine protected areas as part of a broad based approach to nature conservation in the UK and help deliver the vision for clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse seas.
  • Wild Birds Directive and Habitats Directive – both directives require spatial protection measures which collectively form the Natura 2000 network, an EU-wide network of nature protection areas.
  • Marine Strategy Framework Directive - As part of our programme of measures for achieving good environmental status we must contribute to a coherent and representative network of marine protected areas by the end of 2016.
  • The Oslo-Paris Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North East Atlantic (OSPAR): the countries bordering the North-East Atlantic, including the UK, have agreed to establish an ecologically coherent network of marine protected areas in the North-East Atlantic  and for it to be well-managed by 2016.
  • Convention on Biological Diversity - the commitment to establish a representative and effectively managed global system of marine protected areas.