With mounting anthropogenic and ecological pressures on the coastal marine environment, global governments are realising the importance of the services provided to coastal communities by the marine ecosystem.
On both a national and international level, several vital pieces of policy and legislation guidelines have been put into force over the last number of years. European initiatives like the Oslo Paris Convention (OSPAR) and the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), are further supported by the Birds and Habitats Directives, along with the Water Framework Directive (WFD), Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), and the Nitrates Directive, adding further levels of protection to the marine environment on an international level.
The Irish government has also decided that further knowledge and conservation is needed, and so have come up with a National Biodiversity Plan. All of the above policies and legislation cannot be effectively enforced by the European Union and national governments alone, which is where the National Parks and Wildlife Service play a crucial role. Areas considered in this section include: