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Marine Activities and Pressures Mapping

JNCC actively collaborates with industry (e.g. Oil & Gas UK, Subsea UK, Crown Estate) and governmental organisations (e.g. Marine Management Organisation (MMO), Marine Scotland, UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO)) to collate third-party spatial data on human activities, which tell us where and, if possible, when activities occur in the UK marine environment

Human activities data

Data on a range of human activities are collated, such as fishing, renewable energy generation, aggregate dredging (of gravel and sand dredged from the sea bed), oil and gas, shipping and recreational activities (e.g. yachting and diving sites). These activities have a potential to impact the marine environment resulting from frequency and location of occurrence.

The following portals allow you to view human activity data online, and in some cases download:


Pressures Mapping

JNCC is developing the spatial data held on human activities into pressure maps for the UK marine environment. Pressures maps are delineated by activity type, distribution and intensity. Pressure maps show where in the marine environment a pressure is caused and therefore where there is a potential impact. These maps can be used for multiple purposes:

  • Undertaking Type 2 monitoring; by developing a sampling strategy along a mapped pressure gradient, observed changes in biodiversity can be related to variability in pressures.
  • Developing vulnerability maps; by mapping different pressures alongside marine habitat and species maps it is possible to identify those habitats and species that are most exposed to pressures that they are sensitive
  • Developing monitoring options using the risk-based approach; by identifying habitats or species considered to be at high risk, i.e. those that are most exposed to pressures that they are sensitive to, monitoring can be prioritised.

JNCC has created pressure maps for two pressures under the pressure theme ‘Physical damage (reversible change)’:

  • Habitat structure changes - removal of substratum (extraction)
  • Penetration and/or disturbance of the substrate below the surface of the seabed, including abrasion

Diagram illustrating circles to represent the footprint of aggregate dredging sites and squares to represent the footprint of navigational dredging, which are activities that cause extraction pressure. These are merged in the second diagram to illustrate an extraction pressure layer.

For more information on the pressure mapping methods please read the associated reports for abrasion and extraction. To request the pressure maps (shapefiles), please email



Marine Pressures and Impacts

Published: .

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