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Marine Assessment

What are Marine Assessments?

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Image: Role of monitoring and assessment within an overall environmental management cycle.

Marine Assessments are a vital step within the environmental management cycle (see figure above). They make best use of evidence on human pressures and biological data that enables us to provide advice on management and inform policy. Assessments look at various components of marine ecosystems, using indicators and modelling tools to assess the health, status and trends in marine biodiversity, particularly, species and habitats, impacts from human activities, and evaluate the effects of changes of management measures within the UK MPA network.

Assessments take place at various scales, from the MPA scale to whole regions such as the Greater North Sea.

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Image: Spatial distribution of confidence assessments for the physical damage indicator.

JNCC plays a key role in the development of Indicators used to undertake such assessments, working collaboratively with other experts nationally and internationally.

National and International requirements underpin marine biodiversity assessment and reporting. More detail can be found under Reporting Obligations.


Project Summaries

For further details on JNCC projects related to Marine Assessment, click on the summaries below

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Benthic Habitats Assessment
Charting Progress 2
Ecosystem Services


UK Marine Strategy

The UK Marine Strategy sets out how will we achieve the vision of clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse oceans and seas. It is made up of three parts setting out a comprehensive framework for assessing (Part 1), monitoring (Part 2) and taking action (Part 3) across our seas. JNCC has played a key role in helping to implement the UK Marine Strategy and assess progress made towards Good Environmental Status by leading, in collaboration with other organisations, the development of indicators and targets to assess biodiversity aspects of the UK Marine Strategy. For further information on the latest UK Marine Strategy part 1 on the assessment of progress towards Good Environmental Status, visit the Marine online assessment tool


OSPAR Intermediate Assessment 2017 and Quality Status Report 2023

OSPAR’s Intermediate Assessment 2017 (IA 2017) describes the human pressures on the North-East Atlantic, their effects and the implications for biodiversity. The IA 2017 included the development and assessment of 41 indicators covering the status of marine habitats and species and the magnitude of pressures, such as contaminants, litter, underwater noise, non-indigenous species and fisheries.

A series of videos were produced to provide an introduction to OSPAR and showcase the results from the IA 2017 on the current knowledge on the health of biodiversity. They provide an introduction to how OSPAR works and JNCC’s role in contributing to the intermediate assessment. They explain the method, show the results and highlight knowledge gaps from the IA 2017 for the sea bed, marine birds and marine mammals.

Introduction to OSPAR

Seabed Habitats


Marine Mammals

OSPAR Quality Status Report 2023

JNCC experts are currently preparing the new round of indicators and assessments for the production of the OSPAR Quality Status report in 2023 (QSR2023). The revised QSR will evaluate progress towards the achievement of the North East Atlantic Environmental Strategy and identify any priority elements for action to achieve OSPAR’s strategy objectives.



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