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Present

Mike Dowell (Welsh Government – co Chair)
Chris Jenkins (Welsh Government)
James Millington (Welsh Government)
Caitlin Jenkins (Welsh Government)
Maggie Hatton Ellis (NRW)
Dr Andrew Lucas (JNCC)
Gill Bell (Marine Conservation Society)
Tabea Wilkes (RSPB Cymru)
Emma McKinley (Cardiff University)
Phil Horton (Royal Yachting association)
Rachel Sharp (Wildlife Trusts Wales)
Clare Trotman (Marine Conservation Society)
Katie Havard-Smith (Cardiff University)
Peter Davies (WMAAG)

Apologies

Nick O’Sullivan (WMFAG)
Phil Hollington (Ynys Mon)
Mark Simmonds (British Ports Association)
Mary Lewis (NRW)

Welcome and introductions

Mike Dowell as Chair welcomed members to the second meeting of the sub-group. He thanked members for their continuing support for the projects in such uniquely challenging times. He stated that Welsh Government is continuing to operate as normal for the time being, however the Covid-19 crisis is likely to impact budgets from all departments and we expect a challenging year ahead. He noted that the situation is very dynamic, and changing daily, hence all budget commitments are subject to change.

Actions

  • Welsh Government to publish the note for the meeting on the website.

MPA network management – feedback on submissions

An overview was given of the seven submissions made for inclusion in the next MPA Network Management Plan, along with the reasons each was either accepted or rejected for inclusion.

It was noted that five of the seven submissions were accepted and two were rejected.

The previous plan included 25 actions, of which 21 are being carried over to the next plan. Of the 5 accepted proposals, 2 are being merged with existing actions and 3 new actions included.

The new plan will be published by the end of July 2020, disruption from the Covid -19 crisis notwithstanding.

Proposal 1:

Seasearch data, developing trend analysis for wales. The proposal has been rejected.

Clare Trotman requested information from Welsh Government on how to work together to look at other options for funding the project outside of the MPA Network Management Plan.

Proposal 2:

Native oyster restoration project. The proposal was accepted.

It was noted that the project is being funded by the EMFF and carried out by NRW, and one of the key outputs of the project is to establish a restoration model that can be replicated elsewhere in Wales or the UK.

Proposal 3:

Understanding bait digging in Wales. The proposal was accepted.

It was noted the proposal was to develop a wales wide analysis of potential damage to sites and management options for the Gann site which is already damaged.

The introduction of a law is being considered to protect the Gann, and Bait diggers will be consulted during this process.

Proposal 4:

Assessing annex 1 environments risk from climate change. The proposal was accepted.

It was this will be a desktop study with a view to establishing a priority list of the environments most at risk which require focus.

Proposal 5:

Improved MPA Management Liaison. The proposal was rejected.

It was noted that the panel debated extensively about the best practise and best forum to implement the proposal.

The proposal was rejected due to a lack of clarity around the tangible outputs and how to integrate the outputs into the management plan.

Proposal 6:

Implementing of vessel monitoring data. The proposal was accepted.

It was noted the proposal would enable the monitoring of vulnerable species and would be funded by the EMFF.

Proposal 7:

Reducing disturbance to marine mammals and birds: The proposal was accepted.

It was noted with regret that written feedback on the rejected proposals could not be provided at this time.

Actions

  • Welsh Government to keep the group updated in the event budget is diverted to other areas due to the Covid-19 crisis.
  • Welsh Government to consult stakeholders why more proposals weren’t submitted, and whether any blockers exist.
  • Welsh Government to work with MCS to explore other funding channels.

Any other business

Chris Jenkins asked the group to comment on the format of the annual MPA Network Management report to make it more useful.

It was noted that in previous meetings it was suggested that the report needed to be refreshed.

Gill Bell suggested a 2 page glossy summary and more infographics would bring the content alive to a wider audience.

Peter Davies suggested a version for use in schools would be useful. It was noted this could be produced under the eco schools project.

Actions

  • Welsh Government to ask the wider stakeholder community for feedback on the report.
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