Improved information on the migratory pathways, timings and relative conservation importance of marine species is required to inform balanced evaluation of the cost and benefits of protecting those pathways.
Though information on all migratory species would be useful, early work will be to identify the species that are of most interest (including migratory fish), particularly species that are subject to statutory conservation measures.
This requirement focuses on migration (predictable large-scale movement in space and time) rather than just mobility e.g. dispersal.
This will improve identification of intensively used sites or times of year when a species uses an area to migrate. This will help Marine Planning to better understand compatibility with human pressures and to consider addressing current or potential impacts in the marine plans, therefore improving delivery of marine planning.
This will improve the consideration of migratory species in licence applications and could influence the need for, or nature of, conditions reflecting the importance of that area for migratory species. Information on timings will be of particular importance to increase the accuracy of time based conditions applied to licences, potentially increasing the effectiveness of advice given to the MMO but also ensuring any burden placed on activities is proportionate to the risk identified.
Natural England, JNCC, Cefas, Scottish Natural Heritage