MESH is dead, long live MESH


After four years’ hard work, spending just over 8 million euros, the Mapping European Seabed Habitats Project (MESH) finally came to a close at the end of January 2008. JNCC and our MESH Partners tied together all the loose ends and submitted the final report to the North West Europe INTERREG Secretariat at the end of March 2008. So, was it worth all the effort and resources? In simple terms, yes! The project delivered all its key products on time and within budget, to the acclaim of our stakeholders. The MESH Blue Book & Guide to Marine Habitat Mapping


JNCC with the support of the MESH Partners published the MESH Blue Book, a glossy executive summary describing all the achievements of the project. It is a highly illustrated, non-technical document that will be easily digested by both the non-specialist and technical mapping scientist. All the key products are described, including links to the actual products themselves, together with a closing summary of MESH partner views on how these products will fit into the future policy agenda. All the project outputs are available though the Product Library.  


At the outset, the MESH project’s goal was to establish a framework for mapping the marine habitats of north-west Europe through the development of internationally agreed protocols and guidelines for seabed habitat mapping and the generation of the first compiled marine habitat maps for the north-west Europe. Did we achieve this goal?


MESH Guide to Marine Habitat Mapping offers a framework for seabed habitat mapping to help standardise future mapping activity, and to improve the consistency of maps. It provides both a comprehensive overview of the seabed habitat mapping process, and detailed technical advice supported by tools, templates and actual case studies. JNCC published a synopsis of the MESH Guide aimed at the non-technical user who needs to gain a basic understanding of the seabed habitat mapping process; it comes with a DVD of the full guide for offline use.


The MESH webGIS is a powerful interactive mapping system that presents seabed maps for north-west Europe available through, the project website. It includes both existing maps that were sourced from many organisations by the MESH Partners, and new maps predicting the distribution of seabed habitats using modelling techniques researched by the project. The MESH webGIS includes the ‘first compiled marine habitat map for north-west Europe’ – a significant achievement by the MESH project partners.


Now the project is complete and the pain and frustrations forgotten, the partners can look back over the four years though their rose-tinted spectacles and reflect on what the project really did achieve. It was responsible for far more than simply a series of maps, reports and web pages. The MESH partnership itself is arguably the greatest achievement: 12 organisations from five countries came together to establish strong professional and personal relationships, to work through transnational cooperation on delivering an impressive range of products. At the end, the MESH partnership remains intact and whilst there are no current plans for a MESH II, groups of partners are actively pursuing new ventures to take forward the MESH outputs. So, whilst the MESH project is dead, long live the MESH partnership!


Jon Davies

MESH Project Coordinator

Tel: 01733 866835