For those involved in the Greystones fishing community over the last century, the Hayden family need no introduction.
The experience and the stories are all there, and so is the love of this fine stretch of rich coastal beauty.
Ashley Hayden’s family roots run deep, and his decades of experience offshore fishing here – the Moulditch Ridge, Kilcoole Bank and the Breaches Shoal – dates back to the late 1960s.
And so, when Ashley got in touch stating there’s something seriously wrong with the current state of play when it comes to fishing around Greystones, and that a ‘community-driven’ Marine Protected Area should be established, well, we reckoned he may have a point.
Take it away, Ashley…
I am familiar with the local marine traditions and I am fully aware what has been lost due exclusively to bad fisheries management decisions encapsulated by habitat destruction, the resultant of licenced mussel dredging which commenced back in the early 1980s.
I have a vision to establish a “community-driven” Marine Protected Area (MPA) between Bray Head ( to the north) and Wicklow Head (to the south) encapsulating both holistic and socio-economic principles. I would be very interested in presenting my vision to the wider Greystones population – hence my Greystones Guide correspondence, with a view to maybe organising a public meeting.
Best practice would suggest that the process to achieve this viable proposal will require most likely the setting up of a “driver organisation” possibly a registered charity with philanthropic and or EU funding to underpin it linked to a campaign ran by the wider local community while being supported by the state, which will include all vested interests and not just a narrow “marine” focus.
The MPA will be for “all” the people locally, nationally and from abroad.
The MPA will act as a pilot project which if successful can then be incorporated as a modal for best practice inshore fisheries management and subsequently rolled out nationally.
I envisage that: Management of the MPA will include an academic research mandate to aid “best management practice” as well as to further progress marine scientific knowledge.
That the inshore/offshore MPA will be an extension of the Wicklow National Park, so making the county not only unique nationally but also internationally.
That the MPA will extend out to the old three-mile limit and its northern and southern limit will be designated by a virtual extension of the respective county lines.
That the MPA will not be exclusively “No Take” but will allow sustainable commercial artisan fishing methodologies, recreational sea angling and a variety of water sports and activities under a progressive management plan aimed to encourage local business and employment opportunities while both rehabilitating and preserving the integrity ongoing of North Wicklow’s offshore environment.
That within the MPA though there will be areas designated as “No Take” for both scientific and “spill over” purposes.
In short the investment in time and effort will be returned many fold.
I am proposing that the vision is worth adopting because: It will be a unique step for a county (public and private entities) to recognise and claim ownership of an offshore coastal resource with a view to managing its usage and future rehabilitation/development as an integral and symbiotic element of onshore economic development.
That the County Council supported by Public and Private interests can lead the way in proposing and developing a forward thinking “coastal county by coastal county” approach to national inshore fisheries management where community and state Dept’s/Agencies work side by side to manage and develop “their inshore/offshore patch” collectively on behalf of the nation.
Ashley Hayden BA MSc
You can find out more about Ashley Hayden on his blog, An Irish Angler’s World, right here. If you’re interested in taking his proposal for established a Marine Protected Area off the coast of Greystones, email email@example.com, and we’ll put the wheels in motion…
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