The red-throated diver is one of the species protected under the new SPA. Image Credit: Wexford People

Environment Ireland27. February 2024

Largest Marine Conservation Area in This Country’s History

A Special Protection Area (SPA) of over 350,000 hectares of marine waters off the coast of Wexford, Ireland, has recently been announced.

“This designation of the Seas off Wexford is another determined step by Ireland to protect our marine birdlife. The 20 species protected at this site are some of our rarest and most threatened birds, and these waters are a valuable feeding resource for the seabirds that return every spring to Wexford’s coastal and island colonies to breed,” says Niall Ó Donnchú, Director General of the National Parks and Widllife Service.

This newly protected area is the largest SPA in Ireland’s history. It is a significant win for myriad bird species – including the Common Scoter, Red-throated Diver, Fulmar, Manx Shearwater, Gannet, Shag, Cormorant, and many others. Furthermore, the Irish government is working on delivering its renewable and sustainable energy objectives, standing behind the idea that biodiversity protection and climate action go hand in hand. Ireland’s newest SPA brings the percentage of marine protected areas in the State up to almost 10 per cent of total waters. “These protections are vital in a time when the pressures on our nature and biodiversity have never been greater, and the challenges of the climate emergency have never been more pressing,” adds Ó Donnchú.

Irish Independent

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