Changes in public attitude toward the natural environment and increased awareness of past losses and current threats have forced many industries and government agencies to evaluate the impacts of their activities on natural processes. Today, the environmental and social sustainability of coastal and marine resources, and the livelihoods of those who depend on them, are jeopardised by pollution, coastal development, overcapacity within fisheries, widespread habitat loss and infrastructure building for industries such as energy renewables. Likewise, impact assessments of fisheries are often poorly informed, receive inadequate attention and do not adequately assess both the direct and indirect that fisheries can have on ecosystems. The main threats to marine species populations are non-selective fishing gear, destructive methods of fishing and poor fisheries management regimes that lead to overcapacity and rates of fishing mortality that exceed sustainable levels of exploitation.
MRAG has developed considerable experience in the undertaking of environmental assessments on inshore, coastal, offshore and high sea area. Following analysis of assessment results MRAG has provided and managed the implementation of plans to remediate impacts, namely;
- Establishment of ecological reserves
- Remediation of pollution
- Reducing the impacts of flood control systems
- Designing guidelines to minimize the loss of biodiversity.
Fisheries-specific assessments have identified conflicts between fishing gear types, threats to non-target species, and further ecosystem impacts of fisheries leading to policy recommendations and novel management plans for improving the sustainability of fisheries through reducing their impact.
Clients and collaborators have included the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) Global Environment Facility (GEF), UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the European Commission.
MRAG has provided a wide range of services including;
- Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) relevant to a wide range of infrastructure projects e.g. renewable energies and coastal developments comprising resource surveys, analysis and impact modelling.
- Fisheries Assessments specific to impacts of gear types and threats to non-target species by-catch/discards.
- EIAs specific to short and long-term contamination by pollutants, including providing technical assistance and advisory services.