South West Marine Natural Capital Conference 2017


11th July, 2017 – Exeter Racecourse


‘A great success’ – ‘A thought provoking day’ – ‘A really well organised and presented event’ – ‘Very interesting and informative’ – ‘ A great introduction to a new way of thinking’ – ‘An excellent meeting’ –  ‘Probably the best conference I’ve attended in terms of facilitation, networking opportunities and relevant, well-run sessions’ 

(Delegate Feedback)

On July 11th, a capacity 150 delegates  convened at Exeter Racecourse  for the inaugural South West Marine Natural Capital Conference. Organised and hosted by the Devon Maritime Forum, this conference was the first of its kind in the UK, and brought together leading academics, policy makers, managers, businesses, and local stakeholders to learn more about how we can better value and manage the region’s marine and coastal natural assets. The event explored the potential of the ‘natural capital approach’, a new way of thinking that puts the environment and environmental assets at the heart of economic decision making.

Image: Kelvin Boot

Central to the day was the showcasing of three innovative and collaborative projects that are at the forefront of this new ‘natural capital approach’ and are currently just getting underway in the region. The Plymouth University, PML, and University of Exeter led SWEEP (South West Partnership for Environment and Economic Prosperity) project; the North Devon Biosphere Reserve led Defra Marine Pioneer project; and the WWF-UK led UK SEAS project will be working individually and in partnership to solve some of the challenges associated with financing, managing, utilising and improving the region’s marine natural environment. The programme also featured a keynote address from the campaigner, writer, and leading British environmentalist Tony Juniper.

Professor Ed Maltby, Chairman of the Devon Maritime Forum, said:

As a region, the South West of England is hugely dependent on its natural capital, and particularly its marine natural capital, for its economic prosperity. Its outstanding marine environment and abundant marine assets provide the natural capital upon which many key regional industries, including the fishing/aquaculture; marine renewable; and marine and coastal tourism/leisure sectors, are built.

‘Given the scale and importance of marine natural capital to the South West’s economy, combined with the region’s world leading expertise in marine science and environmental economics, it is not surprising that the South West of England has emerged as a global pioneer in implementing and testing the natural capital approach.

Full Programme available HERE


Session I – Context

  • Tony Juniper ‘What Nature Does for Britain’
  • Mel Austen (Plymouth Marine Laboratory) ‘Natural Capital Approaches and their use in Marine and Coastal Marine Management’

Session II – Three Key Projects

Session III – Discussion Groups/Topic Workshops

  • Summary Report to follow shortly