Marine Vulnerability Assessments


A vulnerability assessment is an assessment of possible impacts on marine biodiversity from human activities. Activities exert a variety of pressures which can have different levels of impact on habitats and species. To carry out a Vulnerability Assessment, we must consider where activities occur within the marine environment and what habitats and species are found there. Using this information, we can identify the area of activity which coincides with the different habitats and species; we call this the ‘exposure’. Sensitivity assessments then determine how sensitive each marine habitat and species is to the activity in question. When we combine the exposure of the environment, with the sensitivity of the environment we generate the likelihood of impact, we call this ‘vulnerability’.
JNCC uses vulnerability assessments for a range of projects, including:

• Assessing the status (condition) of marine habitats for legislative reporting where in-the-field data has not yet been collected or is limited.

• Providing evidence for the development of MPA conservation objectives (i.e. high-level statements of ecological aims for the MPA).

• Providing advice to industry on the likely impacts of their activities on marine biodiversity, particularly within MPAs.

• Jointly with Germany developing an indicator of physical damage for Marine Strategy Framework Directive purposes under OSPAR (Oslo-Paris Convention) coordination.

• Assigning a prioritisation to the monitoring of MPAs following a risk-based approach.



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