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Recreational anchoring and mooring in Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) - ME6009

An improved understanding of the level of recreational anchoring and mooring at a site level and the significance of this is required to inform management discussions.
Recent projects have made some progress by collating existing evidence and highlighting gaps and recommendations for future work:

1. Spatial data gathering at the site level – to more accurately quantify scale, frequency and intensity of pressures - particularly focussed on identified gaps for recreational anchoring.

2. Targeted experimental work to directly observe anchoring impacts and track recovery for potentially higher sensitivity and higher exposed habitats e.g. seagrass, maerl - through controlled dropping, set and retrieving of anchors.

3. Future ecomooring trials taking into account holistic set of factors and not just ecological need for the moorings including estimation of whole life costs and development of best practice, standards for UK conditions and better information management/sharing of evidence from trials.

172 MPAs containing designated features that are potentially sensitive to anchoring and mooring were identified through this project. A detailed risk assessment process was developed and overall only 4% (109) of the assessed habitats (biotopes) were considered to be at high or medium risk from anchoring and mooring pressures when overlapped with exposure information - where there was spatial data available on activities and habitat extent.

Of the assessed MPAs, twenty-two contain designated (or proposed) habitats considered to be at high risk from abrasion but this does not distinguish between likely activity type.

However, a lack of recreational data was identified as a key limitation of the study that strongly affects the results of the risk assessment. National datasets only provided a high level summary of some of the local activity.
The objectives of this project are:
1. Improve available information on recreational anchoring and mooring activity
2. Ground truth and re-run the risk assessment
3. Gather socio-economic data of recreational anchoring and mooring activity

This is a desk based study which will also involve workshops and meetings with stakeholders and groups at a local level. Field based data collection is not expected. This work should include MPAs in England and Wales.
Project Documents
• TPS - Two Page Summary : Recreational Anchoring Initial Two Page Summary   (264k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2017

To: 2020

Cost: £82,500
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Environmental Impact              
Natural Environment