North-West of Jones Bank MPA

 

Status: Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ)

 

 

 

North-West of Jones Bank MCZ is an offshore site situated approximately 165 km west of Land’s End on the Cornish coast, England.

 

The site extends over approximately 399 km2 of continental shelf seabed, helping to protect a diverse range of habitats and associated species. The array of sediment types found at North-West of Jones Bank support a number of different organisms, including worms, cockles, urchins and sea cucumbers, as well as providing habitats for sea-pens and burrowing megafauna. The site is also used as an over-wintering area by great northern divers and other sea birds.

 

More detailed site information can be found on the Summary tab.

 

Map displaying MPA boundary and associated

protected feature data. Further data will be

available in due course. Visit the JNCC MPA Mapper

 to further view and explore data for this MPA.

 

Legislation behind the designation: Marine and Coastal Access Act (2009)

 

Protected features

EUNIS Code: Protected Features Feature Type General Management Approach
(to achieve conservation objective)
A5.1:Subtidal coarse sediment Broad-Scale Habitat Recover to favourable condition
A5.2:Subtidal sand Broad-Scale Habitat Recover to favourable condition
A5.3:Subtidal mud Broad-Scale Habitat  Recover to favourable condition
A5.4:Subtidal mixed sediments Broad-Scale Habitat  Recover to favourable condition
Sea-pen and burrowing megafauna communities Feature of Conservation Importance Recover to favourable condition

 

The acquisition of new data may result in updates to our knowledge on feature presence and extent within this site. The most up to date information is reflected on the map on this page and in JNCC’s MPA mapper and the evidence underpinning this can be viewed in the Evidence tab.

 

Conservation objectives
The overarching conservation objectives for the designated features of all protected sites in UK offshore waters is to ensure they either remain in, or reach favourable condition. The ability of a designated feature to remain in, or reach favourable condition can be affected by its sensitivity to pressures associated with activities taking place within or in close proximity to a protected site. Specific information on the conservation objectives relating to this MCZ is provided in the Conservation Advice tab.


Site Timeline

The diagram below is a summary of the key milestones involved in the selection and designation of North-West of Jones Bank MCZ.  More detail can be found within the Relevant Documentation below.


Relevant Documentation

The documents referred to below and any other historical documents relating to North-West of Jones Bank MCZ were produced during the selection and designation process and therefore may be out of date.  This Site Information Centre is the most up to date source of information for this MPA, and will reflect any additional information gathered since these documents were produced. Further information about the Marine Conservation Zone site selection process and historic MCZ advice is available on the JNCC MCZ pages.

 

 



Summary

 

Last updated: October 2017

 

Information for this site summary was adapted from JNCC’s Relevant Documentation on this site and incorporates any further information gathered since this advice was produced.

 

Site overview
North-West of Jones Bank MCZ is situated approximately 165km offshore from the south-west of England. The site covers 399.14km2 of continental shelf, of which 339.74km2 consists of Subtidal mud, contributing one of the largest areas of this habitat amongst all designated MCZs.

 

The sea bed in North-West of Jones Bank MCZ comprises a variety of broad scale habitats such as. Subtidal sand, Subtidal mixed sediments and Subtidal coarse sediment. These habitats are representative of the sea bed in UK offshore waters and support a range of species, including polychaete worms, veneroid molluscs and echinoderms such as starfish and urchins. The area however predominantly consists of Subtidal mud and its component habitat Feature of Conservation Importance; Sea-pen and burrowing megafauna communities. This feature consists of stable plains of fine mud, which provide a suitable habitat for burrowing animals such as Norway lobster (Nephrops norvegicus) and a variety of sea-pens like the slender sea-pen (Virgularia mirabilis) and phosphorescent sea-pen (Pennatula phosphorea)  that protrude from the sea bed.

 

North-West of Jones Bank MCZ is situated approximately 132 km north west from South-West Deeps (West) MCZ, and 240km north west of The Canyons MCZ. All of these sites contribute to the connectivity and representativity of sea bed features within the Western Channel and Celtic Sea biogeographic area. Further detail on the evidence for this MCZ/can be found on the Evidence tab.

 

Site location:  Coordinates for this MCZ can be found in the Designation Order listed in the Relevant Documentation.

Site area: 399.14km2.

North-West of Jones Bank MCZ is larger in size than the Isle of Wight (380km2).

Site depth range:  North-West of Jones Bank MCZ varies in depth from between approximately 100 and 200m.

Charting Progress 2 biogeographic region - Western Channel and Celtic Sea.

 

Site boundary description
The North-West of Jones Bank is a simple rectangle following North-South and East-West lines. Therefore, the boundary is in accordance with the MCZ Ecological Network Guidance, which advises using a minimum number of simple lines to delineate the site. Finding Sanctuary Regional MCZ Project recommended North-West of Jones Bank MCZ to Government, which was then advised on by the Statutory Nature Conservation Bodies before being subject to public consultation by Defra, between January 2015 and April 2015.

 

Evidence

 

Last updated: October 2017

 

The full overview of the various data used to support site identification, along with information on confidence in feature presence and extent, is available in the pre-consultation and post-consultation advice for Tranche Two offshore Marine Conservation Zones proposed for 2016. JNCC will be adding relevant survey data for this MPA to the JNCC Interactive MPA Map in due course. Some of the data for this MCZ has been collected through JNCC funded or collaborative surveys and some through other means.  Data from these surveys provide direct evidence confirming the presence of the protected features within the site.

 

Survey and data gathering

  • North-West of Jones Bank and The Canyons MCZs seabed survey (2017) - This survey was a collaboration between JNCC and Cefas. Video, grabs and camera  imagery were collected in North-West of Jones Bank MCZ to form the first point in a monitoring time-series, allowing JNCC to monitor the rate and direction of long-term change in subtidal mud and sea-pens and burrowing megafauna communities.
  • North-West of Jones Bank MCZ Verification Survey (2012) - The survey was a collaboration between Cefas and JNCC to collect acoustic and groundtruth data to identify the presence and extent of broad-scale habitats and features of conservation importance within North-West of Jones Bank MCZ.

 

Data analysis reports

  • North-West of Jones Bank MCZ community analysis (2016) - Biotope classification using benthic community statistical analysis of data gathered to provide evidence to underpin the MCZ designation. The analysis supports the presence of subtidal coarse sediment, subtidal sand and subtidal mud. The analysis also supports the presence of sea-pen and burrowing megafauna communities
  • North-West of Jones Bank MCZ Post-survey site report (2015) - Data from the 2012 verification survey has been analysed by Cefas. The analysis confirms the presence of subtidal coarse sediment, subtidal sand and subtidal mixed sediments. The analysis also identified the presence of an additional broad-scale habitat, subtidal mud, and a Feature of Conservation Importance (FOCI), Sea-pen and burrowing megafauna communities.
  • British Geological Survey Seabed Sediments Data Points Map - Particle Size Analysis of historical data was used to identify habitat type and converted to the EUNIS broadscale habitats by JNCC. The data suggest subtidal coarse sediment, subtidal sand, subtidal mud and subtidal mixed sediments all occur within the site
  • EUSeaMap (2016) - Provides supporting information on the presence and extent of subtidal course sediment, subtidal sand, sublitoral mud and subtidal mixed sediments from a predictive seabed habitat map of European waters.

 

Additional relevant literature

References for further supporting scientific literature consulted during the identification of this site can be found in the annexes of pre-consultation and post-consultation scientific advice for Tranche Two offshore Marine Conservation Zones proposed for designation in 2016. Please be aware that although these sources contain information in relation to this MPA, they do not necessarily represent the views of JNCC.

 

Knowledge gaps
If you are aware of any additional data or relevant scientific papers for this site not listed in the Evidence tab, or the annexes of the MCZ advice documents, please contact JNCC.

 

Conservation Advice

 

Last updated: October 2017

 

Conservation objectives

Conservation objectives set out the desired state for the protected features of an MPA.

The conservation objectives for the protected features of an MPA are useful if you are:

  • Planning measures to conserve the site and its protected features;
  • Monitoring the condition of the protected features; and/or
  • Developing, proposing or assessing an activity, plan or project that may affect the protected features of the site

 

The conservation objectives for the protected features of the MCZ are:

Subject to natural change, the Subtidal coarse sediment, Subtidal sand, Subtidal mud and Subtidal mixed sediments feature is to remain in or be brought into favourable condition, such that their:

  • Extent is stable or increasing; and
  • Structures and functions, their quality, and the composition of their characteristic biological communities are such as to ensure that they are in a condition which is healthy and not deteriorating.

 

Subject to natural change, the Sea-pens and burrowing megafauna communities feature is to remain in or be brought into favourable condition, such that it's:

  • Extent is stable or increasing; and
  • Structures and functions, its quality, and the composition of its characteristic biological communities are such as to ensure that it is in a condition which is healthy and not deteriorating.

 

More information regarding the conservation objectives for the protected features of North-West of Jones Bank MCZ is available in the site Designation Order, In addition to the conservation objectives above, General Management Approaches (GMAs) have been set by JNCC for each feature which provide a view as to whether a feature needs to be maintained in or be brought into favourable condition i.e. recover, based on our knowledge about its condition. For more information on the General Management Approach for MCZs see Defra’s MCZ Designation Explanatory Note.

 

The GMAs for the protected features of the MPA are:

  • Subtidal coarse sediment: Recover to favourable condition;

  • Subtidal sand: Recover to favourable condition;

  • Subtidal mud: Recover to favourable condition;

  • Subtidal mixed sediments: Recover to favourable condition; and

  • Sea-pens and burrowing megafauna: Recover to favourable condition.

 

More information on the GMAs for the features in North-West of Jones Bank MCZ are provided in JNCC’s Tranche Two pre-consultation and post-consultation scientific advice to Defra.

 

Advice on operations 

Section 127 of the Marine & Coastal Access Act (2009) states that JNCC may provide advice and guidance regarding matters capable of damaging or otherwise affecting the protected features of an MCZ. JNCC has published the following advice on activities which are capable of damaging or otherwise affecting protected features in MCZs:

 

JNCC provides a list of activities occurring within the North-West of Jones Bank MCZ and information on management within the activities and management tab. JNCC has provided this to aid the cumulative assessment of impacts of human activities within the site.  While every attempt has been made to ensure this information is accurate and kept up-to-date, the list is not to be considered exhaustive or definitive. The list does not, for example, include activities occurring off-site which may also be capable of affecting the protected features.

 

For the most up-to-date information about the biological communities present within the site and their spatial distribution, please see the evidence tab. Sensitivity information for the protected features within the site can be found in a Technical Report (Tillen et al., 2010) commissioned by Defra to support the MCZ designation process.

 

The information contained within the data and evidence tab, the activities and management tab, the Tillen et al., 2010 report and the advice listed above on activities which are capable of damaging or otherwise affecting the protected features in MCZs are useful if you are:

 

  • Carrying out any activity that may impact the protected features of the site and need to find out how to operate within the law;
  • An authority providing advice on specific proposals;
  • An authority responsible for putting management measures in place.

 

Our scientific understanding of the ecology of the protected features of the site and how activities can affect them may change over time. Similarly the activities taking place within the site may also change over time. JNCC’s conservation advice will be kept under review and will be periodically updated to reflect this. Further information on JNCC’s conservation advice work is available on the offshore MPA conservation advice webpage.

 

Activities and Management

 

Last updated: October 2017

 

Management status: Progressing towards being well managed

 

The vulnerability assessment conducted for this site suggests it is unlikely to be moving towards its conservation objectives, but directed site condition monitoring data are needed to improve our confidence in this assessment. Progress is ongoing with regards to the recommendation of a fisheries management proposal to the European Commission.

 

This site forms part of the UKs contribution to the OSPAR commission’s network of MPAs and the Emerald network established under the Bern Convention. As the UK is a member of the OSPAR commission, JNCC are committed to ensuring that the OSPAR MPA network is ‘well-managed’ by 2020.

 

JNCC consider ‘well-managed’ to mean the timely progress of an MPA around the ‘MPA management cycle’. This involves:

  1. The documentation of appropriate management information - conservation objectives, advice on activities capable of affecting the protected features of a site, and spatial information on the presence and extent of the protected features of a site.
  2. The implementation of management measures - management actions considered necessary to achieve the conservation objectives of a site.
  3. Site condition monitoring programmes – collecting the information necessary to determine progress towards a sites conservation objectives.
  4. Assessment of progress towards conservation objectives – using available information to infer whether or not a site is moving towards or has achieved its conservation objectives.

 

The sub-sections that follow provide an account of the progress of North-West of Jones Bank MCZ around each of these four stages in the MPA management cycle:

The documentation of appropriate management information

  • The conservation objectives and advice on activities capable of affecting the conservation status of the protected feature of this site are available under the conservation advice tab.
  • JNCC are in the process of improving our MPA conservation advice packages. Further information is available on our conservation advice pages.
  • Spatial information on the presence and extent of the protected feature of this MPA is available via JNCCs MPA mapper.
  • JNCC are in the process of developing downloadable MPA data packages where appropriate permissions to share datasets are in place.

 

The implementation of management measures

This section details progress towards the implementation of management measures for activities considered capable of affecting the conservation status of the protected features of the site. The protected features of the site are considered to be sensitive to pressures associated with fishing and ‘licensable’ activities.

 

Fisheries

  • Vessel monitoring data indicates that bottom trawling, pelagic fishing and the use of static gear types occur within the site which is potentially damaging to the habitats present at North-West of Jones Bank MCZ.
  • This MCZ falls outside the UK’s 12 nautical mile limit and is to be exclusively managed under the EU Common Fisheries Policy(CFP). In accordance with Article 18, requests for management will be developed jointly between the UK Government and any Member States with a direct management interest in the area affected. The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) are the lead authority regarding the implementation of, and compliance with, any measures to managing fishing activity. Further information on progress is available via MMO webpages.

 

Licensable activities

  • Whilst licensable activities such as oil and gas exploration and production do not take place within North-West of Jones Bank MCZ at present, any future activities would be managed in accordance with the clauses set out under Section 127 of The Marine & Coastal Access Act (2009). Under this clause, JNCC have a statutory responsibility to advise the regulator on developments that are capable of affecting (other than insignificantly) the protected features of the MPA and that may hinder the achievement of the sites conservation objectives. JNCC consider that the existing marine licensing process is sufficient to ensure the management of licensable activities taking place, or that could take place in the future, on the protected features of this MPA.
  • For further information, please see the Marine Management Organisations’ guidance on marine conservation zones and marine licensing.
  • Further information on JNCC’s role in the provision of advice for licensed activities in the UK offshore area is available on JNCC’s offshore industries advice webpage

 

Telecommunications cables

  • One telecommunications cable currently crosses through the MPA.
  • Cables are largely an unregulated activity in offshore waters depending upon the type of cable being laid (or maintained), where it is being laid between and whether the cable is part of a larger development (which may be regulated). Any cable not directly associated with an energy installation does not require a marine license beyond 12 nautical miles.
  • JNCC encourages early discussion from operators regarding any plans related to new or existing cables, and encourages the undertaking of non-statutory environmental impact assessments for new or existing cable projects to assess their effect on the protected features of the MPA.

 

Ministry of Defence (MoD) activity

  • The MCZ is within a MoD exercise area and MoD activities are known to take place in the water column above the site.
  • The MoD has incorporated all designated MPAs into their Environmental Protection Guidelines (Maritime) and wider Marine Environmental and Sustainability Assessment Tool. These guidelines are used to manage MoD activity to minimise the associated risks to the environment.

 

Shipping

  • Under international law, ships have a right of passage at sea including in areas designated as MPAs (unless management specifies the restriction of ship transiting as outlined through an International Maritime Organisation measure). The pressures associated with shipping activity within North-West of Jones Bank MCZ are not considered likely to impact the protected features of the site.

 

Site condition monitoring

Site condition monitoring surveys are yet to take place within this MPA. Further information will be made available under the Monitoring tab in due course. A summary of our existing knowledge base for this site is provided in the Evidence tab.

 

Progression towards conservation objectives

No long-term condition monitoring data is available to determine whether the MPA is moving towards or has reached its conservation objectives. The site has a ‘recover’ conservation objective based on a vulnerability assessment that examined exposure to activities associated with pressures to which the protected features of the site are considered sensitive. This suggests the site is unlikely to be moving towards its conservation objectives but site condition monitoring data would improve our confidence in this assessment. Further information will be provided under the Assessment tab as it becomes available.

 

Monitoring

 

Last updated: October 2017

 

JNCC is currently leading on the development of a strategy for biodiversity monitoring across all UK waters, to include MPA monitoring. For MPAs, data and evidence collected from monitoring activities will aim to:

  • Enable assessment of condition of the features within sites;
  • Enable assessment of the degree to which management measures are effective in achieving the conservation objectives for the protected features;
  • Support the identification of priorities for future protection and/or management; and
  • Enable Government to fulfil its national and international assessment and reporting commitments in relation to MPAs and help identify where further action may be required.

 

Information on monitoring of this MPA will be provided when it becomes available.

 

Assessment

 

Last updated: October 2017

 

Assessments of the condition of designated features in offshore MPAs are required to report against our legal obligations. Ideally these assessments should be based on observed data, and then measured against targets for predefined indicators. However, for MPAs in offshore waters we do not always have the appropriate information to be able to do so. This is particularly true for seabed habitats, which are the main type of feature designated for protection in offshore MPAs. 

 

To address these challenges, JNCC has been an active partner in the development of new approaches and tools for the assessment of habitats and species for a variety of national and international status reports. They include the second cycle of the Conservation Status Assessment reports under the EU Habitats Directive, Charting Progress 2 (CP2) and the OSPAR Quality Status Report (QSR). JNCC continues to develop and pilot tools for the assessment of marine habitats and species in offshore waters to improve the quality and transparency of our offshore MPA assessments, and contribute to the monitoring of marine biodiversity in UK waters. These tools cover methods for producing interim assessments of site features and their responses to pressures, as well as developing more robust indicators for determining condition of the features.

 

Under the UK Marine & Coastal Access (2009), JNCC is required to report to Ministers on the degree to which the conservation objectives of the protected features of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) have been achieved.  Every 6 years from 2012, the Marine Act requires a report setting out how MCZs have performed against their conservation objectives, as well as the effectiveness of the network as a whole. The assessments of features within MPAs will also feed into six yearly reports on the state of the marine environment under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), which aims to achieve Good Environmental Status (GES) by 2020.

 

 

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