Offshore Seabed Survey


JNCC carries out offshore seabed surveys to gather evidence needed to support the work of all Marine teams within the organisation. Evidence collected is essential to the role of JNCC as a key advisor to the government on nature conservation and are used in a variety of ways including:

• To support the identification and designation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) 
• To develop monitoring for protected habitats and features both within and outwith MPAs 
• To assess the condition of the seabed
• To inform appropriate conservation management of the seabed

In the initial stages of evidence gathering, ‘data mining’ (looking for existing data relevant to the survey area of interest) and ‘literature searches’ (looking for existing scientific papers relevant to the survey area of interest) are performed to establish any existing evidence from previous research and/ or survey work for the area in question. This process helps to inform offshore seabed survey planning, where the aim is generally to collect more evidence, either through commissioning new surveys or developing collaborative opportunities with other organisations and agencies.  

Over the years JNCC has collaborated with several national and international organisations, and universities, to undertake offshore seabed surveys including:

• Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas)
• Marine Scotland Science
• Natural England
• British Geological Survey (BGS)
• National Oceanography Centre (NOC)
• Heriott-Watt University
• Plymouth University

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.

Data collected from offshore seabed surveys are archived according to the Marine Environment Data and Information Network (MEDIN) data standards and are sent to Data Archive Centres (DAC). You can find out more about data availability by visiting our data availability and standards webpage.


© Neil Golding/JNCC 2011 (left and middle). CEND0513 (right) © Eleonora Manco/JNCC 2013.

CEND0211 Haig Fras © Neil Golding/JNCC 2011 (left and middle). CEND0513 (right) © Eleonora Manco/JNCC 2013.


Data Availability and Contacts


• Data from marine protected sites are available through our interactive MPA mapper (for MCZs, SACs, SPAs, and Ospar sites).

• Maps of UK seabed habitats can be viewed and downloaded from the EMODnet Seabed Habitats interactive map and metadata catalogue.

• Examples of data collected on our offshore surveys in Marine Protected Areas can be viewed using our MPA mapper. To obtain a copy of these GIS shapefiles please contact us.

• For more information on data availability please see our data availability and standards webpage.

• Please contact us if you have further questions on the offshore survey programme or if you would like information on our datasets.