Samiya Selim, Phd student in Animal & Plant Sciences, attended this exciting event bringing together marine policy makers and scientists.
Samiya’s conference report:
Coastal Futures 2014 – A two day crash course on all things related to Marine Policy! I wished to attend coastal future conference 2014 as I was interested in learning more about current status of UK marine renewables. Specifically this would help with my PhD research on coastal ecosystem services. On a wider level this would also be useful to network with people from backgrounds in marine policy, energy, economics and industry, and see how we can build collaborations as part of Sheffield Marine Research forum (SMRF).
On arrival what struck me was the presence of several consultancy firms, energy companies, and government agency representatives. There was good representation from University students and academics as well, but most of the people I spoke to were in industries related to marine agendas.
There was obviously a strong emphasis on policy, I felt I had a 2 days crash course in marine legislations, directives, frameworks and planning! I learned more about the MSDF, EU Frameowrk, water framework, CFP- old and new, quotas, discards, OSPAR, and marine planning than I have in my 2.5 years reading about it for my PhD. I found some of it quite useful and relevant, especially the ones that showed how the science was feeding into all these policies and the challenges and problems people faced. I used to think European waters already had so much research and plans in place, it surely can’t be that hard to implement policies. After this meeting I realized how challenging it must be here when so many countries are involved, each with their own agenda. I got a better understanding of what the MMO and IFCAs are actually doing on a practical day to day level, and the challenges they are facing with marine planning and implementation of laws.
There were some really good talks on how the science feeds into policy – on the use of plankton research and CPR data to identify indicators for MSFD. Talk by Alex Rogers on ‘The State of the Oceans Report’ again was informative on showing what was happening in different ecosystems and how this knowledge can be used to feed into policies. There were several talks on marine renewables, both off-shore wind and tidal and wave energy, which I found very useful.
One group that was not represented at all was from tourism and other industries related to tourism such as planning commission/urban planning around coastal areas. I feel they ought to be feeding into these networks as tourism and health benefits from being at the coast, walking groups/ramblers/nature trusts/ ought to have a say on marine planning and especially when deciding on indicators for GES.
I had the opportunity to speak with several of the speakers as well as other people from industry who attended the conference. I found very useful in terms of identifying people I can pursued further for information related to my PhD, as well as contacts for building future collaborations for SMRF. I am grateful to have received monetary support from the Accelerator Funds to attend this conference.