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Plymouth marine park: The UK’s first
marine National Park
Simon J Pittman, Mike Williams, Lynda Rodwell,
Jason Lowther, Rebecca Shellock, Sian Rees and others…
Marine & Coastal Policy Research Unit, University of Plymouth
and Seascape Research CIC (Plymouth)
Presentation to Society & Sea Conference, Greenwich, 6th Sept 2018
•Brief skim over Plymouth’s deep blue roots
•Plymouth as a marine biodiversity hotspot
•Campaign for Marine National Park status
•Shaping a holistic city-led marine park concept
•Addressing global sustainable development goals
•Priority questions for Plymouth’s next steps
Where on Earth is Britain’s Ocean City?
Plymouth - a lively maritime centre 360 years ago
Artist: W. Dubusc 1680 (Plymouth from Mount Edgcumbe)
Return of a Fleet into Plymouth Harbour
Dominic Serres (1722–1793)
National Maritime Museum, Greenwich
View across the Tamar from Mount Wise to
Mount Edgcumbe 1830-2018
Plymouth blue roots beneath the waves make Plymouth
one of the UK’s most popular SCUBA diving locations
The fish market at Plymouth
Today, Plymouth Fisheries
sell >6,000 tonnes per year
Plymouth began as a fishing village and
has been 'chiefly dependent on the fish trade’
Plymouth Sound is a nationally important
marine biodiversity hotspot
Sunset cup coral Seagrass
Red finger coral & pink seafan Jewel anemone
Credit: Ben Squire/Plymouth Boat Trips Basking shark
Statutory marine protection for Plymouth area
•Focused on statutory EU designations
for biodiversity conservation
•Effective multi-sectoral coordination
and management through TECF since
•Complex –many units, overlapping
legislation and policy drivers
•Low community awareness,
value and understanding
•We have SAC, SPA, SSSI, AONB, MCZ, vMCA
•We have restrictions on fishing, anchoring,
speeding and codes to minimise harm
Emergence (and re-emergence) of the UK National
Marine Park vision
Environment Secretary Michael Gove,
who visited the Westcountry today,
said he likes the imaginative plans to
create the park. Herald 8 June 2018
Hop, skip and a jump from vision to reality!
Marine Parks conference, 6th June 2018
National Marine Parks
as party policy
Plymouth to apply
for funding to be UK’s
first Marine Park
Why Plymouth proclaimed National Park status?
Plymouth is Britain’s Ocean City
Our Ocean City’s greatest assets:
•Beautiful coastline, productive seas & rich maritime heritage
•World renown for marine science and engineering
•Nationally important Naval base and fishing port
•Many existing statutory conservation designations in place
•“the sea is in our DNA” Tudor Evans OBE – strong maritime identity
Plymouth City strategic context:
•Strategic goals to raise city profile, civic pride and self-esteem
•Strategic drive to increase social and economic well-being and maintain
sustainable growth (Plymouth Plan)
•Support for local businesses and growth in social enterprise sector
•First waterfront community to receive plastic free award (SAS)
Shaping a marine park to be more than
•Holistic thinking and global relevance
•Sustainable development goals
•Healthy cities and urban ecology
•Blue health research
•City seascape concept
Pittman et al. (in review) Marine parks for coastal cities: A concept for
enhanced community wellbeing, prosperity and sustainable city living. Marine Policy
A Marine & Coastal Policy
Research Unit project
What our concept of a
Marine Park is NOT?
•NOT a new type of MPA or marine reserve
•NOT additional marine conservation
•NOT statutory designation
•NOT a new governance framework
•NOT new regulations
What our concept of a Marine Park IS?
•IS a local community-focused marine space
•IS defined by local knowledge, needs and a shared vision
•IS powered by community activities
•IS a positive impact to community health & well-being
•IS a catalyst for greater prosperity & sustainable enjoyment
•IS a generator of knowledge on park nature and heritage
•IS positive for community pride, identity & stewardship
•IS complementary to the Ocean City branding
A marine park by the people and for the people
A community Marine Park is an ocean and coastal
space defined by local knowledge to recognise its
special importance for community wellbeing, with the
intention of encouraging greater prosperity and
responsible enjoyment, deepening knowledge,
appreciation and respect for the Marine Park.
The Marine Park focuses on nurturing greater
community involvement in caring for and safeguarding
its long-term health and integrity.
With permission from Brian Pollard, Plymouth artist
From Rodwell et al. 2018 Plymouth Marine Park Briefing Paper
Proposed definition for a community Marine Park
By understanding the marine and
coastal environment people value it.
By valuing the marine and
coastal environment people will
want to care for it.
By caring for the marine and coastal
environment people will enjoy it.
From enjoying it comes the
desire to understand.
PMP can stimulate a positive deeper civic-seascape relationship
Adapted from English Heritage business philosophy
Plymouth Marine Park - Far more than just place branding
City Marine Park and Blue Health:
Promoting restorative, stress reducing and active fun
•Blue gym effect - Visiting blue spaces may encourage physical
activity with benefits for physical and mental health
•Social contact. Parks can bring different communities together and
enhance social contact
•Beach time promotes family health and well-being and positive
relationships with nature
•Stress reduction and happiness. Highly restorative effects, feeling
happier and more satisfied with their lives when exposed to blue
Place branding, marketing and sustainability
•Jurassic Coast World Heritage
£103-119 million per annum
+ 2,000 jobs created
•Marine Park/local business partnerships
& environmental sustainability
e.g. Esprit Parc National Chartermark
>100 new businesses +4,000 jobs in 5 yrs
Triple Bottom Line
•New marketing approaches can help businesses
with environmental sustainability behaviour change
e.g., Marketing Sustainable Market Orientation (SMO)
e.g., Community social marketing
City Marine Park & Blue Urbanism:
Accessibility, inclusivity and improving public space
•Evaluate barriers to access to marine/coast across the city community
•Encourage collaborations with architects and artists to create for
marine/coastal public space/lighting
•Review signage and information displays
•Park visitor centre? Mobile units
Example from Exeter
Invite innovative architects to
develop concepts to improve public spaces
A city marine park as a social policy to address global sustainable
development targets for health and prosperous coastal communities
Health & Well-being
Improve access &
participation for all
Promote and care for
Enable park restoration
Promote responsible marine
recreation & tourism
Integrate park into
urban land-sea planning
Priority questions to address
•What is the role of local authorities?
•How best to ensure more inclusive community participation?
•How do we ensure local community interests are central?
•How can socio-economic benefits be fully realised?
•How can PMP be used to increase health & well-being?
•How can PMP best enhance ocean/heritage literacy?
•What carrying capacity & best practice for responsible use?
•Coastal cities are pivotal in achieving sustainable development goals
•A city marine park deepens community connection to the sea
•All coastal cities can have a city marine park
•A city marine park is powered by community engagement
•A city marine park is blue urbanism
In the UK, almost 300 legally gazetted MPAs and many more
•statutory designations, however, have a poor level of public
recognition and understanding and do not appear to
generate civic pride, even when in close proximity to cities,
despite enthusiasm for marine conservation in the UK being
high (Hawkins et al. 2015).
•For instance, in 2015, only 25% of EU citizens surveyed had
heard of the Natura 2000 network (European Environment
How frequently does a global goal appear in leaders top six priorities?
(data from 3,500 global leaders)
National Parks England: Statement on Health and Well-being
“National Parks contribute to the mental and physical health of the nation. They provide a
place for escape, adventure, enjoyment, inspiration and reflection and are used by many
millions of people. They provide places to replenish the soul. They are a significant part of
the natural health service, and complement the opportunities available in Areas of
Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and other green spaces”.
•UK National Parks are iconic. 93% surveyed said National Parks were important to them
•National Parks attract 95 million visitors annually, contribute to societal prosperity and well-
•In 2016, yield gross value added (GVA) £5.5 to £8.7 billion per annum (Cumulus Consultants 2016).
•In Wales, National Parks support 30,000 jobs and generate £500 million GVA (2013), playing a significant
role in economic regeneration and provide economic resilience in times of economic turbulence.
•Exmoor National Park’s initiative ‘Moor to Enjoy’ reports 87% of project participants saying that the National
Park visit had lifted their spirits and left them feeling more relaxed and sociable (Howes et al. 2018).
•National Parks as “Britain’s Breathing Spaces. Joint Accord between Public Health England and National
Parks England to place parks at the centre of plans to improve physical and mental well-being.