The number of marine protected areas in Kerry need to be increased to restore critical habitats for wildlife.
According to a report published by the Fair Seas Campaign, Kerry is one of the counties named as a particular area of interest due to its rich diversity in terms of seabed habitats.
The Fair Seas study provides information on where to best protect marine species in Ireland.
The proposed marine protected area covers Kenmare, Tralee and Dingle bays as well as Blasket and Valentia islands and the Shannon Estuary.
Areas within the aforementioned have already been granted the status of special area of conservation.
However, a more powerful and effective method for protecting fisheries resources and ocean life is the marine protected area status.
It would prohibit any industrial extractive activities within their boundaries, including oil and gas drilling, seabed mining, and commercial fishing.
The report says there are several seagrass beds in Kenmare Bay which urgently need protecting for its provision of habitats.
Tralee and Dingle bays, meanwhile, are breeding areas for several threatened species of shark and ray.
These areas also exhibit high densities of bottlenose dolphins, minke whale and harbour porpoise.
The report says that the islands that skirt the peninsulas of Kerry are some of the country’s most prominent seabird breeding sites, citing the largest of Ireland’s six gannetries located on the Skellig islands off the coast of South Kerry.
The government must designate a minimum of 30% of Irish waters as MPAs by 2030.
Anticipating a backlash from the fisheries community, the report outlines that there is no evidence of any MPA anywhere in the world reducing fishery catch.