To provide dynamic modelled maps of fish spawning, nursery, migration and feeding areas to support marine planning, conservation and licensing decisions.
MMO requires information on essential fish habitats to support marine management, including marine planning and licensing decision making. Evidence could also be used to inform management of habitats within marine protected areas.
In 2013 a model was developed for MMO using the best available evidence. Information on spawning and nursery areas exists for a number of fish species, however there are gaps for some species and some geographic locations. Whilst marine plan development and licensing applications provides some knowledge on particular fish stocks information is lacking on some locations and fish.
An update to the model is required and should incorporate the latest data, and have the support of stakeholders to ensure its relevance and effectiveness. It should become dynamic so that as more data becomes available the model can be updated.
Marine planning: Provide supporting maps for marine plans and evidence for developing explicit policies that protect essential fish habitats for environmental, social and economic outcomes.
Marine licensing: Inform assessments of marine development applications with supporting evidence on fish species, habitats and fish assemblages.
Marine conservation: Support management of important habitats within marine protected areas by improving the information on the location and characteristics of essential fish habitats.
Cefas, Natural England