Irish Sea Network

Lions mane jellyfish © Alexander Mustard/2020VISION

Lions mane jellyfish © Alexander Mustard/2020VISION

Marine policy

Irish Sea Network

Irish Sea Network

The Irish Sea is surround by six different administrations (Scotland, England, Wales, Isle of Man, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland) each with their own policies, laws, and positions on the marine environment. However, the marine environment cannot be managed in segments, we need a whole view approach to management and conservation as there are many common issues that cross national boundaries or affect multiple parts of the Irish Sea simultaneously, for example:

- The need to develop an ecologically coherent network of Marine Protected Areas is relevant for the entire Irish Sea. Currently this is uncoordinated across nations although we may be working towards the same regional targets

- Fisheries is another area where there is a lot of overlap; unsustainable trawl fisheries continue throughout waters governed by the different nations

- Marine Spatial Plan areas do not match the devolved powers of each nation

As our sea gets even busier (with developments like offshore wind, brine discharge and tidal power), it will be vital to consider in-combination and cumulative effects, not just across the UK but whole Irish Sea area.

We have secured funding from the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and John Ellerman Foundation for a five-year programme of work to improve collective impact across the Irish Sea through an Irish Sea Network.


To improve understanding of conservation activities and pressures across the Irish Sea, and to provide a forum for communication and co-operation by members.


Core membership includes the Wildlife Trusts around the Irish Sea (The North West Wildlife Trusts, Manx Wildlife Trust, North Wales Wildlife Trust, The Wildlife Trust for South and West Wales, Scottish Wildlife Trust, and Ulster Wildlife) and the Sustainable Water Action Network and there will be wider engagement with other external organisations & expert speakers


Our key outputs

♦ Developing shared communications, messaging and campaigns with partners around the Irish Sea to increase our impact

♦ The development of a simple, shared vision for the Irish Sea, formulated, agreed and advocated by all members that can be used to advocate for better decision-making across stakeholders in all six countries.

♦ An annual ‘State of the Irish Sea Report’ that will consolidate the status of marine policy and protection across nations in the Irish Sea

♦ Irish Sea NGOs and statutory agencies work together towards shared success



Logos for Irish Sea Network Esmee and John Ellerman
Basking shark feeding on planton ©Alexander Mustard/2020VISION

Basking shark ©Alexander Mustard/2020VISION

We campaign to protect marine life

We raise awareness about issues affecting our marine life, advocate for the designation of a network of marine protected areas, and champion the sustainable management of our seas. Find out more about what we do in each of our main work areas:

Marine Protected Areas  Fisheries  

Development  Pollution & Litter