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Why should students be interested in marine planning?

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Caitriona Shannon is currently studying for a Masters in Sustainability and Environmental Politics and Policy at the University of Leeds.

She has been with the MMO this week to find out more about marine planning.

Caitriona Shannon has joined MMO planners for a week
Caitriona Shannon has joined MMO planners for a week

I considered it a great opportunity to be given the chance to work in Newcastle with the MMO’s Marine Planning team, and it’s been extremely useful so far, seeing practical steps towards planning for the future of our seas.

My interest in marine planning allows me to integrate my passion for marine science which I studied as an undergraduate, whilst challenging me on my current studies in policy integration and implementation.

Students across a broad range of marine and environmental subjects are hopefully already taking note of the changes that planning will bring, and if not, they should be! We take planning on land for granted now, but the first plans for English seas were published this year, so it’s a fascinating time to see how sustainable development will be managed as more and more industries want to develop out at sea.

So far, I have spoken to marine planners with backgrounds in geography, biology and government, and begun to understand the usefulness of a varied expertise in marine planning. I strongly recommend work experience and considering a career in this area, as it integrates scientific, environmental and political issues and I’ve found the range of work undertaken by the team extremely broad with something for everyone.

By the end of my first few days, the team has introduced me to new concepts such as a Sustainability Appraisal and the crucial role economics play within marine planning. Most interestingly I’ve learned the significance of stakeholder engagement and the efforts the MMO make to encourage participation at all stages throughout the marine planning cycle, whilst achieving their main objective of sustainability. There’s plenty of information for students to use in their studies too, from public engagement to detailed evidence reports.

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