Scientists to strengthen UK’s coastal management

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MARINE conservation expert Katherine Yates is to work with the Government to strengthen the scientific basis of the UK’s coastal management.

Dr Yates and collaborator Dr Jacqui Tweddle from the University of Aberdeen were selected as the first Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC) Exchange Fellows at the Marine Management Organisation.

The MMO is the government body which oversees fisheries management, marine planning and licensing, pollution and protected sites and species. The appointment is funded to £94,000 plus additional training funds by NERC and was announced during British Science Week.

Katherine, a new lecturer in the School of Environment and Life Sciences, said: “Marine management is incredibly complicated and it’s essential that management decisions are based on robust, up-to-date evidence.

Based on science

“Our roles will be to help with evidence provision, through both personal contributions and by facilitate partnerships between the academic community and the MMO. It’s an exciting opportunity and I am grateful to be part of it.”

The three-year fellowships for Katherine and Jacqui  will focus on the use of science in decision making and marine management, encouraging greater knowledge exchange around marine data.  The pair will:

– review the use of science in the MMO’s decision making processes

– encourage greater collaboration between the MMO and academic and research communities

– fill gaps in marine evidence by influencing and improving access to external marine research

Invaluable

As part of their fellowship Dr Twiddle and Dr Yates will also identify and promote the vast amounts of marine data and evidence generated by scientific researchers to the Government office.

Their work is an important part of delivering Part 2 of the MMO’s Evidence Strategy, published August 2016. The Strategy sets out how knowledge exchange, partnership and influencing research will be used to deliver the MMO’s future evidence requirements.

Adam Cook, Head of Evidence at the MMO, said:  “The scale and complexities of our seas means there is still much to learn about their ecosystems and our impact on them. Access to high quality evidence is critical to delivering effective and sustainable marine management and their work will be an invaluable part of improving access to this data.”

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