Cefas’ Data Hub to host a search engine for over 100 Marine Protected Areas (MPA)

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A selection of benthic fauna (Crown Copyright, R. Joliffe).

The UK Government has been committed to conserving the biodiversity of marine fauna and flora in British waters since the Marine and Coastal Access Act, 2009. This has been enacted by protecting an ecologically coherent network of UK coastal areas from harmful human activities. As of May 2018, approximately 24% of UK waters are currently within Marine Protected Areas (an interactive map can be found in http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/page-5201).

The network includes marine habitats that contain rare or specialised organisms, which form the basis of the habitat classification. Data collected from these habitats are stored in Cefas’ repository of MPA data in the Cefas Data Hub (CDH). Currently, Cefas holds data for more than 100 UK sites. The data is open-access, but presently both internal and external users must download datasets for individual MPA surveys. A web tool that can query this consolidated data and allow searches across surveys from all years and all different habitats has been developed and will be soon available with an option that enables users to download the relevant records.