Nationally important marine features (species, habitats and marine landscapes)

The rationale behind identifying threatened, rare or otherwise exceptional species and habitats for priority conservation attention is that, unless urgent action is taken, such species and habitats could either be driven to extinction or reduced to tiny populations or residual areas.
A separate report ( Lieberknecht et al 2004a) identifies potentially important habitats and species of the Irish Sea and discusses modification to the selection criteria developed by the RMNC criteria group (Connor et al (2002)pdf size 730KB). The criteria for habitats species and areas were tested by compiling easily accessible information relating to the criteria for 25 test features selected to cover the range of feature types in the Irish Sea. Sixteen of these test feature "dossiers" were compiled by L.M. Lieberknecht (JNCC), and a further nine were compiled by MarLIN/MBA. The dossiers, as well as the main report on nationally important marine features, are available (Lieberknecht et al 2004a).
Modifications to the criteria for habitats and species are suggested following the testing. As there was insufficient time to develop a full list of nationally important marine features, a provisional list was developed containing features which potentially fulfil the criteria and may therefore qualify as nationally important. A data quality control inspection on the JNCC database was carried out to examine its comprehensiveness.