As part of the implementation of the Marine and Coastal Access Act, a network of conservation sites, intended to conserve or improve the UK marine environment, is being created in British seas. The network will comprise of Marine Protected Areas, European Marine Sites, Sites of Special Scientific Interest, Ramsar sites and Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs). In September 2011 four Regional MCZ Projects, managed by Natural England (NE) and Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), produced recommendations for 127 proposed sites (rMCZs).
The previous MB0120 project has undertaken seabed survey work, including acoustics, video, sediment sampling, to provide additional data and habitat maps to increase the quality and amount of evidence available for these recommended sites. This project (MB0129) is the follow-on project to MB0120 and allows for the continuation of additional seabed survey work to be undertaken where required in order to continue to support designation, monitoring and management of sites. This project will also ensure that data collected under MB0120, and any new data collected as part of this project are properly received, managed, processed, quality assured and archived in a way that ensures they can be confidently used by funders, stakeholders and the wider community to support the ongoing MCZ consultation and designation process.
Data collected under this programme will also be of value to other users of marine data. We will work with MEDIN to agree a process for submitting data collected under this program to the relevant DAC’s. As with MB0120, this project will be steered by the MPA Survey Co-ordination and Evidence Delivery Group (MPA Group), which is chaired by Cefas with representatives from NE, JNCC, EA, IFCA, MMO and Defra. This group will determine the prioritisation of the samples and data to be processed within the available budget.