Advise on the designation of sites: We provide advice on the selection and designation of Marine Protected Areas in offshore waters. We lead on undertaking assessments of MPA network effectiveness across all four UK countries and contribute significantly to international assessment processes.
The offshore marine environment supports a diverse range of benthic habitats, and many important species, including seabirds and marine mammals.
Our statutory remit in the offshore environment means that we are responsible for advising on the designation and management of offshore Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), which extend from the edge of territorial waters out to the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS). MPAs have been established for a wide range of different habitats and species, and are one of the tools that can help us to protect the marine environment whilst also enabling its sustainable use, ensuring it remains healthy for generations to come. We have produced Site Information Centres for all offshore MPAs in the UK. These offer a single, consistent and up-to date point of reference for those interested in particular sites. Our MPA mapper is an interactive resource that provides information on MPA boundaries and their protected features.
We have been at the forefront of providing technical advice on the development of the UK MPA network for over ten years, and the UK is one of the leading countries for coverage of MPAs within its national waters. We also play an important role in co-ordinating the different marine protected area programmes across the four countries of the UK.
Provide advice on conservation and management: Following designation, we are responsible for raising awareness and providing conservation advice for each offshore Marine Protected area. We have developed Site Information Centres (SICs), which provide a wide range of material about the UK's offshore MPAs.
Develop capacity: We have extensive knowledge and are passionate about sharing our expertise more widely, through training and collaboration. For example, we worked with Cefas to deliver MPA training for the Environment Public Authority in Kuwait.