This report details the results of testing the draft criteria
for the identification of nationally important marine areas (Connor
, 2002), within the framework of the Irish Sea
Pilot. Under the criteria, areas may qualify as nationally
important based on their typicalness, naturalness, biodiversity,
size, and whether they are a critical area for a mobile species or
an important area for a nationally important marine feature (as
defined in Lieberknecht et al.
, 2004a). "Nationally
important marine areas", in the context of this report, refers to
areas of importance under biological criteria. Areas of importance
under geological criteria (nationally important marine earth
heritage areas) are discussed in chapter 10 of Vincent et al.
Two approaches to applying the criteria were tested. The first
main section of this report (part A) outlines the initial approach,
which was to apply the criteria directly at the marine landscape
scale, making use of the marine landscape classification developed
by Golding et al. (2004
). The second
approach tested (part B) was to examine the use of the reserve
selection software, Marxan, in aiding the process of identifying
nationally important marine areas at the regional sea scale.