CSP - Celtic Seas Partnership (CSP) – stakeholder driven integrated management of the Celtic Seas Marine Region.

LIFE11 ENV/UK/000392

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The Celtic Seas encompasses the western seaboard of the UK and the Republic of Ireland, the coasts and territorial waters to the north of Scotland and south to Brittany in northern France. The European Atlas of the Seas describes this area as a very windy stretch of water that has long been a busy shipping area with intensive fishing activity – small-scale in the south and deep-sea fishing in the north. Over the past 20 years, aquaculture (fish and sea-food farms) has taken off more strongly and diversified more here than in other marine regions. In coastal areas, there is an active and varied tourist industry. Some 23 million people live in and around the Celtic Seas and many more across Europe depend on the area for their livelihoods and wellbeing.

The Celtic Seas have a wide range of marine habitats supporting a diversity of marine wildlife including whales, dolphins and porpoises, seals, internationally important populations of seabirds, fish and benthic species. In addition, the Celtic Seas supports some of the major migratory fish stocks of the north-east Atlantic including Atlantic mackerel, blue whiting and sea bass. This northern part of the north-east Atlantic region has a strong maritime heritage and a wide range of maritime users including transport and cabling, and natural resources (e.g. aggregates, offshore wind). As pressures increase for use of the marine space and natural resources, there is a need for better coordination and communication between users and the relevant governing bodies.


The Celtic Seas Partnership (CSP) project supported the implementation of EU environmental and maritime policy by using a stakeholder-led approach to contribute to the development of marine strategies, particularly under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), for the achievement of good environmental status of marine waters. It developed appropriate stakeholder engagement mechanisms and built stakeholders’ capacities to enable them to support the delivery of integrated management, to reduce conflicts between coastal and marine-resource users, and to enhance the environmental, economic and social sustainability of the CSMR. Effective stakeholder engagement increased understanding, buy-in and compliance, reducing the need for enforcement and layers of regulation.

The CSP was a significant opportunity to explore good practice approaches towards the MSFD by improving coordination for cross-border coastal and marine planning and management. Tools developed during capacity building exercises included testing and evaluating best practice approaches to conflict resolution and the co-location of activities in the marine environment; developing transboundary governance structures; using Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) principles to support the implementation of the MSFD; and the development of stakeholder-led action plans to aid the practical implementation of ecosystem-based management.


The Celtic Seas Partnership was an ambitious project that brought together governments, sea-users and scientists across national boundaries and sectors to find new ways of managing the marine environment. It supported the delivery of Good Environmental Status in the Celtic Seas by facilitating engagement and building relationships between people involved in using, regulating and protecting the Celtic Seas. It developed innovative approaches to managing the marine environment and put the people who use the sea at the heart of its management.

CSP was supported by all national governments. It successfully ran three multi-national conferences and over 30 national workshops and meetings, engaging over 1 500 stakeholders from 14 different sectors. Task Groups were set up to look at some of the key challenges facing the Celtic Seas, such as marine litter, invasive species and sea-users collecting data. In addition, a pilot project was created with Scottish fisheries, the Scottish government and environmental organisations to see whether mediation could help build trust between groups with challenging relationships. A similar project also took place in France led by Seaweb.

A number of best practice guidelines were produced to support people in better managing their activities in the Celtic Seas. Guidelines produced by WWF include advice on the difficulties of working across borders and sectors, as well as more tailored information for planning authorities produced by the University of Liverpool. The University of Liverpool produced a resource pack with tools and recommendations on how to evaluate the services that the marine ecosystem provides.

An information portal and guide was created by the British Oceanographic Data centre to make it easier to find data and information on the Celtic Seas based around the 11 descriptors of the MSFD. A ‘Fishing4Data’ group has also been set up to develop a strategy for making data collected by the fishing industry scientifically credible so that it can be used to inform policy making and its implementation.

The CSP Marine Litter Task Group’s Eco-Schools initiative was included in the Irish government’s draft programme of measures to achieve Good Environmental Status in the Celtic Seas. The success of the Celtic Seas Partnership is also reflected in 41 organisations/individuals signing up to the CSP Statement of Support, which acknowledges the contribution that the Partnership has made to the achievement of GES in the Celtic Seas and the desire for this contribution to be maintained into the future.

The Future Trends in the Celtic Seas plots the potential impact of different growth scenarios (business as usual, nature at work and local stewardship) on a range of different marine sectors from commercial fisheries to oil & gas production. The documents are now being used by planners in the UK to build into future development plans.

The biggest achievement of the project was that it created a unique opportunity for transboundary, cross-sector collaboration amongst stakeholders, as well as increasing knowledge and awareness of marine policy and MSFD across the Celtic Seas. By doing this the project led to the development of tools and approaches that have stronger buy-in and are thus more likely to be effective in the long term.


Environmental issues addressed:


Environmental management - Integrated management
Habitats - Marine


integrated management‚  coastal area‚  marine pollution‚  marine environment‚  conflicting use‚  sensitive area

Target EU Legislation

  • Marine environment and Coasts
  • Directive 2008/56 - Framework for community action in the field of marine environmental policy (M ...

Natura 2000 sites

Not applicable



Coordinator WWF-UK
Type of organisation NGO-Foundation
Description WWF-UK is part of the WWF global environment network. WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the natural environment, and build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature.
Partners University of Liverpool, United Kingdom Dublin Regional Authority, Republic of Ireland SeaWeb, France NERC (British Oceanographic Data Centre), United Kingdom


Project reference LIFE11 ENV/UK/000392
Duration 01-JAN-2013 to 31-MAR -2017
Total budget 3,963,025.00 €
EU contribution 1,973,546.00 €
Project location Bretagne(France) South West (UK)(United Kingdom) North West (UK)(United Kingdom) Wales(United Kingdom) Scotland(United Kingdom) Northern Ireland(United Kingdom)


Read more:

Project web site Project's website
Project web site - 2 Project's Twitter page
Publication "Fishing-4-data, Informing the scope of the Celtic ...
Publication: Guidelines-Manual "Socio-economic benefits assessment of the Celtic ...
Publication: Layman report Layman report
Publication: Technical report Project's Final technical report
Video link Link to the project's video on Youtube (5:32)


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version