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Marine Conservation: sink or swim; Unlocking the creativity of business - 09:30 21 Apr 2016

Location: The Assembly House, Norwich

This event will introduce a new collaborative approach to managing the UK’s comprehensive network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).  

Defra have recently announced an extension to the UK Blue Belt with the designation of 23 new Marine Conservation Zones. However, designation is just the first step.  This conference will unveil a new collaborative approach to managing marine protected areas.   It aims to launch a long-term sustainable management plan that represents a cost-effective and realistic way forward.

If MPAs are to serve their purpose they have to be well managed, and actually protect the sites and features they were designed to protect. In the current economic climate, this is a challenge that cannot be met by Government or NGOs alone, nor can it be achieved by doing more of the same. 

Marine conservation can bring substantial economic benefits, and the private sector has a strong interest in seeing MPAs well managed.  The UK has vibrant and world-class marine industries with a huge array of expertise and knowledge.  Little attempt has been made to tap into this reservoir of experience for the purpose of MPA management.

We have recently published a report that demonstrates an untapped opportunity to use the creativity and ingenuity of the private sector to protect the marine environment.  The report acknowledges reality, is pragmatic and does not call for more money and resources. If implemented its recommendations could make a welcome and positive difference to the long-term management of the UK’s Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). 

The conference will attract key players with an interest in the marine economy and conservation, and will provide the forum to develop collaborations able to take forward the recommendations in the report.   The event will attract business leaders, policy makers, conservationists and academic researchers.

Conference to be chaired by:

Gregory Darling Chairman, Gardline Group and Managing Director, AST Ltd.

Professor Peter Liss CBE FRS, Professorial Fellow, University of East Anglia


0930    Arrival and Registration


1000    Rodney Anderson, Chair, North Sea Marine Cluster

Presentation of Report’s Key Findings

1015     Dr Gemma Harper, Deputy Director, Defra

Getting the basics right   

1045    Dr Peter Jones, University College London

Governing Marine Protected Areas – resilience through diversity

Understanding and responding to the human element

1105    Dr Piers Fleming, School of Psychology and Centre for Behavioural and Experimental Social Science, University of East Anglia

The potential for applying behavioural science            

Real partnership working offers big benefits

1125    Salli Felton, Chief Executive, Travel Foundation                     

Develop new delivery models, making full use of shared data and new technologies

1145    Rachel Robertson, Senior Environmental Scientist, Gardline Group

Bringing it all together: an overview of the big issues, exploring new technologies and the use of collective data

1205    Nigel Birdsall, Blue Bear Systems

An insight into Autonomous Surveillance Technology

1225    Dr Clare Postlethwaite, Marine Science Coordination Committee

Sharing data - is it better to give or receive?

A strong customer orientation brings rewards

1245    Robin Mortimer, Chief Executive, Port of London Authority

Experience on the Thames

1305    Lunch & Networking


Dr Lyndsey Dodds, Head of Marine Policy, WWF-UK

Dr Martin Johnson, Director, Marine Knowledge Exchange Network

Prof. Russell Wynn, Chief Scientist, MARS (Marine Autonomous Robotics Systems), National Oceanography Centre Innovative use of marine autonomous systems to support MPA mapping and monitoring

Mr Peter Lindsay, VRT – UK Operations, Understanding the condition of man-made infrastructure underwater using sonar.

More to be confirmed…  


TOPIC ONE: Getting the basics right

TOPIC TWO: A strong customer orientation brings rewards

TOPIC THREE: Real partnership working offers big benefits

TOPIC FOUR: Develop new delivery models, making full use of shared data and new technologies

TOPIC FIVE: Understanding and responding to the human element



1620    TOPIC ONE | Getting the basics right

1630    TOPIC TWO | A strong customer orientation brings rewards

1640    TOPIC THREE | Real partnership working offers big benefits

1650    TOPIC FOUR | Develop new delivery models, making full use of shared data and new technologies

1700    TOPIC FIVE | Understanding and responding to the human element

1710    Networking

1730    Close

1900 for 1930    Arrival and Drinks Reception for Evening Meal (ticketed separately)


John Packham, Chief Executive, Broads Authority.

Prof. Becky Parker MBE, Director, The Institute for Research in Schools

Charles Clover, Chairman Blue Marine Foundation and Sunday Times Columnist.

The separately ticketed evening reception will complement the main conference, and provide an opportunity for further networking and collaboration. A drinks reception will be followed by a 3 course meal and after dinner speakers, all hosted in the Assembly House which is renowned regionally for its impressive surroundings and fine food.

For an additional fee delegates will have the opportunity to have a stand or include material in our delegates pack. Further details will be available in the registration process.  Sponsorship packages are also available. Please contact the organiser for further information.

Sponsored by:





Marine Knowledge Exchange Network




Click here to purchase tickets

Click here to view sponsorship packages