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North Sea States Unite Against Marine Pollution

9th October 2009
North Sea States Unite Against Marine Pollution
Today (Friday 9th October 2009) all North Sea states and the European Community agreed on the framework of an Action Plan to combat illegal and accidental pollution of the greater North Sea and its approaches.

The Action Plan (to be further developed by the end of 2009) will strengthen joint prevention, preparedness and response to marine pollution from shipping and other maritime activities in one of the world's busiest international shipping areas. The Action Plan is an important step towards a clean and healthy Greater North Sea and approaches (which will include Irelands Exclusive Economic Zone waters) and was made at the annual meeting of contracting parties to the Bonn Agreement from 7-9 October in Bonn, Germany.

In his message to the meeting, Wolfgang Tiefensee, Federal Minister of Transport, Building and Urban Affairs, Germany, congratulated the Bonn Agreement Contracting Parties on 40 years of successful work. He said that he was convinced that in future the Bonn Agreement will "yet again make a successful contribution" to achieve a good environmental status for the seas by 2020, a goal set by the Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union and its environmental pillar, the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

Delegates from all eight North Sea States and the European Community, plus observers from Ireland and Spain, together with guests from other maritime organisations unanimously agreed that continuing efforts were needed to protect the values of the North Sea against risks from maritime activities.

Speaking today from Bonn, Director of the Irish Coast Guard Chris Reynolds said:"Work is well advanced on Ireland becoming full signatories to the Bonn Agreement following on from a unamious invitation of all contracting parties.  This means the Sea Area covered by the Agreement will be enlarged to include Irish waters.  The dangers of accidents and pollution in our waters continue as a result of bigger vessels and growing volumes of cargo.  The Action Plan agreed today will strengthen our joint pollution prevention and control measures. We look forward to hosting the next meeting of the Bonn Agreement in Dublin in December 2010."

Ms Pia Bucella, Chair of the Bonn Agreement and Director at the European Commission, concluded a tribute to the anniversary proceedings saying "I am convinced that the Bonn Agreement Action Plan, addressing some of these challenges, has the potential for becoming a key milestone in the further development of the Agreement". The next Bonn Agreement meeting will be hosted by Ireland in Dublin in November 2010.

Published in Coastal Notes
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Coastal Notes Coastal Notes covers a broad spectrum of stories, events and developments in which some can be quirky and local in nature, while other stories are of national importance and are on-going, but whatever they are about, they need to be told.

Stories can be diverse and they can be influential, albeit some are more subtle than others in nature, while other events can be immediately felt. No more so felt, is firstly to those living along the coastal rim and rural isolated communities. Here the impact poses is increased to those directly linked with the sea, where daily lives are made from earning an income ashore and within coastal waters.

The topics in Coastal Notes can also be about the rare finding of sea-life creatures, a historic shipwreck lost to the passage of time and which has yet many a secret to tell. A trawler's net caught hauling more than fish but cannon balls dating to the Napoleonic era.

Also focusing the attention of Coastal Notes, are the maritime museums which are of national importance to maintaining access and knowledge of historical exhibits for future generations.

Equally to keep an eye on the present day, with activities of existing and planned projects in the pipeline from the wind and wave renewables sector and those of the energy exploration industry.

In addition Coastal Notes has many more angles to cover, be it the weekend boat leisure user taking a sedate cruise off a long straight beach on the coast beach and making a friend with a feathered companion along the way.

In complete contrast is to those who harvest the sea, using small boats based in harbours where infrastructure and safety poses an issue, before they set off to ply their trade at the foot of our highest sea cliffs along the rugged wild western seaboard.

It's all there, as Coastal Notes tells the stories that are arguably as varied to the environment from which they came from and indeed which shape people's interaction with the surrounding environment that is the natural world and our relationship with the sea.

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