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Offshore Seabed Survey

JNCC undertakes surveys of the UK’s offshore seabed (from 12 nm to the limits of the UK’s EEZ) across a range of habitats and depths (from 15 m to 2000 m) with a variety of partner organisations.

Between 2003 and 2014, we conducted 37 Marine Protected Area (MPA) identification and verification surveys to 73 MPAs.

Since 2014, our survey efforts have focused on monitoring the designated features of these MPAs, with 17 surveys to 35 MPAs completed in this time.

Why we do it?

We conduct our surveys to:

  • Support the identification and designation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
  • Monitor protected habitats and species within MPAs.
  • Assess the condition of the seabed.
  • Inform appropriate conservation management of the seabed.


Operational aspects – what do we do?

In carrying out our survey work, JNCC:

  • Develops and implements robust survey designs 
  • Includes innovative sampling methods and designs where possible
  • Provides experienced and skilled survey staff to participate in offshore seabed survey
  • Develops robust survey data analysis specifications (for example for analysis of seabed imagery, grab samples and acoustic data), and manages delivery of associated contracts
  • Ensures survey outputs are quality assured to relevant national and international guidance and standards 
  • Ensures survey data are made available and appropriately archived. 



JNCC works in partnership with Cefas and Marine Scotland Science to deliver a programme of MPA monitoring surveys annually, and with other partners as opportunities arise. 

Collaborative working allows JNCC to share expertise and resources with partners to collect evidence which is of value to many organisations and can be used for many purposes. This helps JNCC ensure value for money is achieved.


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