This project successfully trialled the development of a seabird sensitivity mapping tool for MRE developments in Ireland, on a limited geographic area with a shortlist of species. A list of 7 recommendations for the future development of the tool came from this trial process and the subsequent stakeholder workshop. Furthermore, important datasets that will be available in the future have been listed and a number of recommendations have been made to fill notable data gaps in the future so that a final seabird sensitivity mapping tool can reach its full potential.
A full-scale seabird sensitivity mapping tool should be developed as a next step, to include all 38 seabirds that regularly occur in Irish waters, and cover all of the Irish EEZ. The next phase should heed the recommendations and feedback from the current project and the data gaps outlined here should be addressed, though this need not stall the development of a final mapping tool.
The final mapping tool should include plans for regular updates to incorporate new information on seabird sensitivity and distribution.
A future full-scale seabird sensitivity mapping tool, used by developers and consenting authorities alike, will help ensure the true sustainability of the Irish MRE into the future.