Partnership delivers joined-up marine evidence

11 March 2010

Yesterday two government bodies signed an innovative agreement that will enable cost savings and best use of complementary capabilities in each organisation.


The partnership agreement, signed by the Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science (Cefas) and JNCC, will support national obligations to achieve challenging objectives for marine nature conservation and biodiversity protection.


Closer collaboration in the collection of at-sea data will provide better evidence for decision-makers. Integrated monitoring programmes in the field – focusing on water chemistry, biodiversity, seabed imagery and sea-bird/mammal observations – will generate combined geodata sets that provide a more comprehensive view of the state of the marine environment.


Richard Judge, Cefas’ Chief Executive, said: “I’m delighted to be able to sign this partnership agreement with our colleagues at JNCC. It’s a great example of joint working to deliver the evidence that really helps to inform decisions about the marine environment.”


This unique agreement and partnership also provides a basis for the more efficient use of Cefas’ research vessel (a highly valuable government-owned asset) and further cost savings, as the needs of different government bodies are aligned.


The application of new technologies and innovations will be supported by the agreement. For example, anchored sampling devices were trialled in UK coastal waters to provide cost-effective baseline contaminant data and assess concentrations of some hazardous substances. Such remote devices demonstrated that more cost-effective methods could be used to gain valuable evidence.


Marcus Yeo, JNCC’s Managing Director, said: “Access to the full range of Cefas expertise in marine data and evidence provision will underpin our delivery of biodiversity monitoring and surveillance strategies. JNCC are delighted to be able to realise the benefits from this partnership arrangement.”   




Notes to Editors:


1)  Cefas is an internationally renowned scientific research and advisory establishment, based at Lowestoft since 1902. Operating as an executive agency of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), it works alongside government and other agencies, both in the UK and internationally, to play a vital role in securing healthy marine and freshwater environments for everyone’s well-being, health and prosperity. It is the UK’s largest and most diverse applied marine science organisation, providing a uniquely comprehensive and flexible capability that supports sustainable management of UK inshore and shelf seas, and their associated resources. For more about Cefas’ work see


2)  The Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC)[1] is the statutory adviser to the UK government and devolved administrations on UK and international nature conservation. Working at the interface of science and policy, JNCC’s work contributes to maintaining and enriching biological diversity, conserving geological features and sustaining natural systems. It is responsible for advising on marine nature conservation in offshore waters around the UK, and for working with the country conservation bodies to ensure there is a sound evidence base across the marine environment as a whole, and that international obligations are met in a consistent manner. This includes contributing to the establishment of Marine Protected Areas. See for more about the marine aspects of its work.


3)  The partnership will support two policy areas in government: the assessment of Marine Conservation Zones, which are a new type of Marine Protected Area being set up under the Marine and Coastal Access Act; and support for the European Union’s Marine Strategy Framework Directive. Through these ambitious pieces of legislation it is intended that the UK supports biodiversity and achieves a status level of “good” in the marine environment by 2020.


4)  Cefas will contribute to the design and delivery of offshore biodiversity monitoring and surveillance, which JNCC is developing on behalf of, and in conjunction with, Defra and the devolved administrations. Together, they have identified members for a management board and a business and technical group, which will oversee the partnership and ensure that work is undertaken according to the agreed principles.


5)  A photograph of Cefas and JNCC representatives signing this agreement is available with this release.



For more information, please contact:



Anne McClarnon on 01502 524370,



Communications team on 01733 866839,




[1] JNCC delivers the UK and international responsibilities of the four country conservation bodies: the Council for Nature Conservation and the Countryside, the Countryside Council for Wales, Natural England and Scottish Natural Heritage