Investigating the Oceans
HC 470-I, Tenth Report of Session 2006-07 – Report, Together with Formal Minutes
- House of Commons – Science and Technology Committee
- TSO (The Stationery Office)
Ocean processes are fundamental to climate and weather patterns across the world; they provide minerals, foods and chemicals as well as being major energy resources, both hydrocarbons and renewables. Oceans also provide services in the form of transport, trade, communications and recreation, as well as services through the maintenance of biological and landscape diversity, the importance of which may only be fully appreciated by future generations.
'Investigating the Oceans (HC 470-I)' finds that despite the impressive research efforts of UK institutions and individual scientists, oceans need to be monitored and studied more thoroughly than has been the case up to now with better coordination of activities and increased overall levels of funding. The Committee's central recommendation is that there should be a new marine science agency, replacing the current inter-agency coordinating committee, with a remit to coordinate marine science throughout the UK, promoting marine science education in schools, universities and to the wider public.
Overall responsibility for the UK's marine science strategy should be invested in a designated minister within Defra. The new agency should undertake a strategy to tackle skills shortages in marine science and technology, engaging with industry and facilitating UK involvement in international organisations as well as coordinating ocean monitoring and observations. Another key task will be to ensure the balance of research effort between the different strands within marine science and between the crucial polar regions, with a greater focus in the Arctic, albeit not at the expense of the work conducted by the British Antarctic Survey.
Concerns are raised over the research vessel capacity available to UK scientists provided by the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), especially for coastal research, and with regards to the adequacy of Defra's plans to establish marine protected areas under the forthcoming marine bill.
The accompanying 'Investigating the Oceans – Volume II: Oral and Written Evidence (HC 470-II)' (ISBN 021503659X) is available to buy separately, see below.
|Format||Paperback||Published||18 Oct 2007|
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