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The Irish Sea Pilot: Report on the development of a Marine Landscape classification for the Irish Sea 2004


This report outlines the work undertaken to collate and analyse geophysical information and identify marine landscapes for the Irish Sea, and also identify their characteristic biological communities. Work to evaluate the susceptibility of marine landscapes to human activities (Tyler-Walters et al. 2003), and to 'score' each coastal (physiographic) and seabed marine landscape using a simple measure of relative biological diversity, is also reported on. Work on the setting of conservation objectives for marine landscapes is provided in Lumb et al. (2004).

The Irish Sea Pilot scheme was established in 2002, with the aim of trialling a 'framework for marine conservation' (Laffoley et al. 2000), addressing the ecological requirements of marine wildlife at an appropriate range of spatial scales. In doing so, the Irish Sea Pilot has examined the degree to which this framework can contribute to wider sustainable development for the whole of the marine environment. In particular, the trial investigated the manner in which nature conservation objectives could be integrated into the objectives of other marine interest sectors (e.g. fisheries, oil and gas, shipping) in practice. The 'framework for marine conservation' proposed the use of marine landscapes as part of an ecosystem-based approach to marine conservation.

The classification of marine landscapes has been based on readily available broad-scale geophysical and hydrographical data to define and map a series of marine landscape types for the seabed and water column. For each of these, it was expected that it would be possible to ascertain (or predict) the biological communities characteristic of the particular type and thus use them for conservation and management purposes, particularly in the absence of ground-truthed biological data. These marine landscape features are defined at a scale which is both ecologically relevant and applicable to the management of human activities.

Resource type Publication

Topic category Oceans

Reference date 2004·03·01

Golding, N., Vincent, M.A. & Connor, D.W. 2004. The Irish Sea Pilot: Report on the development of a Marine Landscape classification for the Irish Sea. JNCC Report No. 346, JNCC, Peterborough, ISSN 0963-8091.

The purpose of the Irish Sea Pilot was to help develop a strategy for marine nature conservation that could be applied to all UK waters and, with international collaboration, the adjacent waters of the North-East Atlantic.

Responsible organisation
Communications, JNCC publisher

Limitations on public access No limitations

Use constraints Available under the Open Government Licence 3.0

Metadata date 2020·07·23

Metadata point of contact
Communications, JNCC

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