Celtic Seas Partnership

Case Study Information
Drawing people together to set up innovative approaches to managing their marine environment. An international project funded by LIFE+, the EU's funding investment for the environment.
UK, Ireland and France
Habitat types (UK NEA habitats): 
Partners, organisations and stakeholders involved: 

900 stakeholders these come from: government, statutory agencies, academia, fisheries, renewables, leisure, shipping, ports and angling.

Partners include:

  • University of Liverpool
  • British Oceanographic Data Centre (NERC)
  • SeaWeb (France)
  • East and Midland Authority (Ireland)
Aims of the project/initiative: 

To support the delivery of Good Environmental Status in the Celtic Seas - facilitating engagement between sectors and across borders to ensure the long term future of the environment while safeguarding people's livelihoods and the communities that have a relationship with the sea.


  • Draw people together from across the Celtic seas to set up collaborative and innovative approaches to managing their marine environment
  • Put people that use the sea at the heart of management - offering them the opportunity to influence how their marine environment will be managed in years to come


  1. Increase stakeholder understanding of marine policy and approaches to marine management
  2. Build and develop relationships between sectors and countries in the Celtic Seas
  3. Influence management practises between sectors and countries in the Celtic seas
  4. Increase stakeholder involvement in marine policy and decision making
  5. Improve the availability of Celtic Seas scale information to aid MSFD implementation and improve management practises
Progress so far: 

Workshops: two international workshops and two rounds of national workshops, in six different countries, have been held. Find workshop reports through website library.

Good practise guidelines: on regional marine governance, sectoral interactions and co-location of marine renewables.

Future trends analysis of the Celtic Seas: developed with industry to identify preferred future scenarios across sectors.

Task groups, both developing plans for ongoing work beyond the end of the project:

  1. ​Marine litter, developing a programme to be part of 'eco-schools' education
  2. The role of fisheries in biodiversity monitoring 
Challenges and lessons learned: 

There is different policy and social contexts in different countries so, it is advisable to have a tailored approach to each, and to have engaged with local stakeholders and governments. 

How does the Project reflect the ecosystem approach?
Principle #1: benefits from nature are important for all of society: 

Involves society directly in considering how to manage the marine environment in a way that delivers environmental, social and economic benefits.  

Principle #11: all knowledge and perspectives should be valued: 

The project engages with as many groups as possible; capturing the many different values and perspectives is at the core of the project. It is very inclusive, for example, stakeholders are involved in workshops and guide the direction of work.

Principle #12: involve more of society in decisions: 

The project has an advisory board of experts in the field.

Principle #3 think of others: 

The Celtic Seas is an ecoregion and is looking at the implications of activities across national borders within this region.  

Principle #4 understand economic context: 

The value of the environment economically, as a concept, has been discussed.

Scale and dynamics
Principle #7 work at the right scale: 

The project was designed to work at the Celtic Seas scale - representing an ecoregion and also a policy region.

Principle #8 look well ahead: 

A sustainable exit strategy is being developed, showing consideration of long-term impacts of the project. A number of areas will hopefully continue beyond the end of the project.

Principle #9 be adaptable to change: 

Issues of adapting to short and long-term environmental changes are considered with stakeholders.

Functions, goods and services
Principle #5 maintain the health of nature: 

Aims to get stakeholders to consider protecting the core functions, or ecosystems services, in developing management.

Principle #6 don’t overexploit: 

Safeguarding the environment so that it isn’t over exploited is indirectly achieved, by having stakeholders considering impacts and environmental requirements.

Principle #10 balance the demand for use and conservation of the environment: 

The Celtic Seas Partnership balances conflicts of use and conservation by developing guidelines based on case studies.

Further information
Contact name 

Jenny Oates

Role in project: 
Project manager
Location map: