Introduction

 

The Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) is working to develop monitoring plans for its offshore Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). These MPAs are characterised by features such as the type of habitat (e.g. circalittoral rock, infralittoral rock, sand, mixed sediment, coarse sediment). Future monitoring surveys will aim to address whether the designated features within an MPA are in favourable condition. For this contract, data was provided from previous surveys whose purpose was to delineate the presence and extent of the features proposed for designation. Within the survey area, each habitat type has one or more sampling stations, from which data have been collected. Two case studies were chosen to examine as part of this contract: Rock Unique  proposed Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ), which is being proposed for its broadscale sedimentary habitats, and Solan Bank candidate Special Area of Conservation (SAC), which is being designated for its rocky reef features. Different sampling techniques were used in each site; a Hamon grab was used to collect infaunal samples at Rock Unique while a drop camera was used to collect images of epifauna at Solan Bank cSAC.  Data for both sites were made available to the Contractor for data exploration.

 

 
 
 
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