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First Impact Assessment report submitted to Defra

Net Gain has submitted its first Impact Assessment report to Defra. This report focuses on developing a baseline assessment of a number of existing socio-economic factors within the Net Gain; later in the project subsequent reports will provide more detail of the potential impacts of potential MCZ sites within the Net Gain project area.

The full report is available on our Stakeholder Engagement Chart here:

First formal submission to the Science Advisory Panel

Net Gain has submitted its first formal report on progress in identifying potential sites for Marine Conservation Zones to the Science Advisory Panel. Due to constraints on the data available to the project during the last round of hub meetings, this report has focused on the adequacy of existing Marine Protected Areas in meeting the requirements of the Ecological Network Guidance. We anticipate that, given improved availability of supporting information and analysis tools, subsequent reports will provide more detail of potential MCZ sites within the Net Gain project area and we look forward to continuing to work closely with our stakeholders with this objective in mind.

The full report is available on our Stakeholder Engagement Chart here:

Find out what species and habitats MCZs will protect

Natural England have produced a catalogue of the features (species and habitats) which will be protected by new Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs).

The online catalogue provides photos and descriptions of the species and habitats which are listed in the Ecological Network Guidance. The Guidance was recently published by Natural England and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) to guide the work of the four regional project stakeholder groups to plan MCZs.

This is a useful tool for people involved in the planning of MCZs but also for those who just want to find out more about some of the interesting animals and plants that live in our seas.


[Thu, Sep 8th, 2011]

Net Gain Final Recommendations available to download now


Since releasing the Final Recommendations Report, we have become aware of a small number of errors and omissions. These are identified and corrected in the Addendum that is available to download here. Please read this Addendum in conjunction with the main Final Recommendations Report.

Net Gain Final Recommendations available to download now

Click here for the Net Gain Final Recommendations Report

Click here for the Net Gain Final Recommendations Report: Annex 2

Click here for the Net Gain Final Recommendations Report: Annex 6

Click here for the Net Gain Final Recommendations Summary Report

(Right click, then "Save target as..." or "Save link as..." to download or click the link to open in your browser. Some of these files are large, so please allow time to load)

[Thu, Jun 23rd, 2011]

New Economist for Net Gain

We welcome Maire Williams, who has joined the Net Gain team as our Economist. Maire will be working with our project partners and stakeholders on the Impact Assessment, which will sit alongside our final recommendations.

Should you wish to contact Maire, she is available in our main office or email:

We would also like to take this opportunity to bid farewell to liaison officers Tammy, Gary, Pete and Dan, all of whom have will be much missed here in the Net Gain offices.

[Thu, Jun 23rd, 2011]

Draft Final Recommendations available to view

We have recently published the report of our Draft Final Recommendations, which is available to download from the Science Advisory Panel sectotion of our Stakeholder Engagment Chart.

Click Here To View

[Thu, Mar 10th, 2011]

Newsletter # 6 Available For Download

You can download the Newsletter #6 below


[Thu, Mar 3rd, 2011]

3rd Iteration Progress Report available to view

Net Gain have published their 3rd iteration Progress Report. (Click here to view the report in full)

[Mon, Nov 8th, 2010]

2nd iteration progress report available to view!

Click here to access Net Gain's 2nd iteration report to the Science Advisory Panel

[Tue, Oct 12th, 2010]

Humber INCA host Net Gain

Net Gain is pleased to announce that the Humber Industry Nature Conservation Association (HINCA) have officially taken over from the Yorkshire and Humber Seafood Group as the administrative hosts of the Net Gain project.

HINCA Humber INCA is a ‘not for profit’ company that serves its members and the community by working to integrate nature conservation into business activities in a practical way so that both business and the environment benefit. It is a partnership bringing together industry, local authorities, environmental regulators and nature conservation organisations.

Darren Clarke, Conservation Manager at the Humber INCA said:

"Humber INCA is pleased and privileged to be supporting Net Gain. This is an exciting project safeguarding and protecting of our marine resources and ties in well with our work on and around the Humber"



[Fri, Oct 1st, 2010]

Regional Hubs Round 3

The Net Gain team are hitting the road once again in October for our next round of Regional Hub meetings. If you would like to find out more about these meetings, please contact your Hub representative or our project team on 01482 382007.

Here’s where we’ll be:


12th &  13th October


14th & 15th October


19th & 20th October


21st & 22nd October

[Fri, Sep 17th, 2010]


Immediate release

Time is ticking for sea users to ‘make their mark’ on Marine Conservation Zones

in the English North Sea

There are just two months to go for sea users who have an interest in the North Sea to get involved and have their say in the identification and recommendation of Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs).The deadline for data collection is Sunday 31thOctober and the Net Gain Project is keen to encourage as many groups and individuals as possible to send in their valuable information by this date.

Maps developed from this data have been and will continue to be vital in ensuring that all interests are taken into account when deciding where MCZs should be located. Discussions around the size, shape and potential locations of MCZs in the Net Gain area are set to continue in the third round of regional hub meetings, taking place from the 11th to the 22nd October.


So far, more than 500 groups and individuals who have an interest in the future of the English North Sea have submitted their data, with Net Gain continuing to work closely with businesses and organisations who represent many thousands of members to encourage as many people as possible to have their say.


Members of the regional hubs include commercial fishermen, environmentalists, recreational anglers and divers. These members are coming together for the third time to build on the hands-on planning work they have undertaken so far in the project.

Joanna Redhead, Project Manager of the Net Gain Project said:

“Our regional hub members have achieved a great deal so far and this is only set to continue in this next round of meetings. As a project, we have been overwhelmed by the positive response from sea users from all walks of life, whose valuable data is central to the success of our planning work at the hub meetings

“Our team has until end of October to collect and input new data from sea users. We don’t want anyone to miss out on this important opportunity to have their say on decisions which could have an impact on a whole range of waterborne activities. The information that we collect holds the key to the success of our regional hub meetings, where sea users come together to ensure that the best possible outcomes are achieved. The deadline is fast approaching, but there is still time to make your voice heard.”

Any club, association or individual who wants to contribute information to the project can do so via an online interactive map at or by contacting their local liaison officer on 01482 382007.

Following the end of the data collection exercise, the Net Gain regional hubs and Stakeholder Advisory Panel will have 6 months to complete its deliberations. Its final proposals will be passed to the Government advisors in June next year.  Following that DEFRA will hold a public consultation on the proposed MCZs.


For more information on this media release or to arrange an interview in the run up to the data collection deadline, please contact Dani Sewell:

Dani Sewell e. T. 01482 382007                 m. 07500 333990

PR and Communications Manager

Net Gain


[Fri, Jul 23rd, 2010]

Socio-Economic Impact Assessment Report now available.

Socio-Economic Impact Assessment Report now available.

[Sun, Jul 18th, 2010]

Project Delivery Guidance and Ecological Network Guidance now available

Please visit the links below to view these two key documents about the Net Gain Project and what we are aiming to achieve

The Project Delivery Guidance

The Ecological Network Guidance

[Thu, Jul 1st, 2010]

Newsletter # 4 Available For Download

You can download the Newsletter #4 below


[Tue, Jun 29th, 2010]

MCZ Interactive Map launched

Mid-June saw the launch of the brand new addition to the Net Gain Liaison Team, the Interactive Map. This system has been developed specifically for the MCZ project and will prove an invaluable tool as the data collection process continues.

The Interactive Map has two core functions; to show the diversity and range of information that is being used by the MCZ Project, and to collect information from stakeholders who are using UK seas. The map allows users to zoom in to areas of interest and to choose which information 'layers' they look at by switching them on or off. The layers of spatial information include plants and animals, different types of habitats and human activities.

Once registered, users are able to draw on the map areas of the sea or coast that are important to them and explain why. For example, divers can show particular sites they visit whereas others may way to map their ecological knowledge, such as important breeding grounds for fish.

Visit the Interactive Map and make your mark:

Quick Guide to using the Interactive Map

1. Visit:
2. A window allows you to choose from a series of shortcuts, including a detailed tutorial option
3. Once on the Interactive Map page, the tabs in the box on the left of the screen at the top allow you to navigate around the site. See the FAQs or Help tabs for further advice
4. Select the View tab to access the data layers. For example, to look at sea depth , click on the depth, click on the box marked Physical, and then tick the box next to Bathymetry and the box underneath
5. Place you r cursor on the map to grab and move, and to zoom into particular areas, as you would with Google Maps
6. Investigate the many data layers available
7. To add your own data, register first and then click on the Add tab
8. You can add sites over a number of visits; sites will be saved and visible under the Add tab on following visits

[Fri, Jun 4th, 2010]

Net Gain Regional Hub meetings kick start plans for the future of Marine Conservation Zones in the English North Sea

Net Gain, the North Sea Marine Conservation Zones Project is pleased to announce the success of its first round of Regional Hub meetings, which have paved the way for a further round of meetings in early June. The Net Gain Project has been set up to recommend Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) in the English North Sea, bringing together sea user groups to input their knowledge and work together to make recommendations from the start.

The first round of Regional Hub meetings took place in South Shields, Scarborough, Boston and Lowestoft in March, with the next round scheduled for June.

Each hub comprises around 40 members who have been selected to represent their respective sectors and work together to ensure that the interests of all those who have a stake in the future of the English North Sea can be taken into account.

Attendees at each of the regional hub meetings were able to discuss the availability and extent of data to support the decision-making process. All four of the Regional Hub meetings involved representatives of a wide range of groups who have an interest in the future management of the North Sea and presented the opportunity for strong collaborative work.

Developing recommendations for MCZs is the primary role of Net Gain's Regional Hubs. To support this, the first round of regional hub meetings focussed on the Ecological Network Guidance, released by Natural England and JNCC, and the nature and presentation of data that is available to support the decision making.

Steven Williamson of Lynn Shellfish Ltd said:

"Perhaps the most positive thing about the meeting was seeing different sectors working together to find a solution that is workable for all. It was great to get an overview of the project, find out what data we will be working with in the future and discuss practical solutions for the important task that we must complete by June 2011. By being involved from the beginning of the project, we stand a much better chance of designing a manageable and well-supported set of recommendations."

The next round of regional hub meetings, which are scheduled for mid-June will build on developments at these first meetings and will move towards developing an initial set of potential Marine Conservation Zone sites.

[Fri, May 28th, 2010]

May Newsletter Now Available

You can download the May Newsletter below:


[Thu, May 20th, 2010]

Meet the Chair of our Stakeholder Advisory Panel

Meet the Chair of our Stakeholder Advisory Pan

Net Gain is pleased to announce that the Stakeholder Advisory Panel will be chaired throughout the project by Trevor Jameson. Trevor has both a public and private sector background in education, finance and NHS. He has been selected as an individual with no affiliation to any sea user group to ensure transparency, integrity and impartiality in the decision making process.

His responsibilities include:

- acting as a figurehead for the Net Gain MCZ Stakeholder Advisory Panel;
- ensuring that planning takes account of the needs of sea users and interested groups;
- signing off the final draft MCZ network to Natural England and JNCC in June 2011.

The membership of our Stakeholder Advisory Panel has been finalised and is available on the Stakeholder Engagement Chart section of this website. The Panel met for the first tie on April 20th. The role of the Stakeholder Advisory Panel is to provide feedback to the Regional Hubs in their recommendations and advise the Hubs on any issues which may affect the wider project area.

Members of the Stakeholder Advisory Panel represent a wide range of sectors from inshore commercial fishing, to conservation, to large scale industrial users. The members have been selected as key members of their respective industries and represent an appropriate geographical spread across the project area.

[Thu, Apr 15th, 2010]

April Newsletter Now Available

You can download the April Newsletter below:


[Wed, Mar 31st, 2010]

March Newsletter Now Available

You can download the March Newsletter below:


[Wed, Feb 17th, 2010]

Net Gain Project celebrates success of Large Group Meeting

Last Thursday, Net Gain (the North Sea Marine Conservation Zones Project) hosted a Large Group meeting at the KC Stadium in Hull for 150 sea users from throughout their project area. The meeting was attended by a wide range of delegates from commercial fishermen to recreational sea anglers and also involved a range of non-government organisations. The meeting was the first step in putting the plans of the project into action, placing stakeholders at the heart of the decision-making process from the outset.

The Net Gain Project has been set up to identify and recommend potential sites for Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) in the English North Sea. The Net Gain process is different to that of other similar projects in that it aims to involve all those who have an interest in the North Sea and its future from the start, from large scale fisheries and aggregates to divers and wildlife enthusiasts. The meeting lasted all day and was professionally facilitated to enable the thoughts, suggestions and ideas of all those who attended to be taken on board as the project progresses.

Last week saw the beginning of the data gathering stage of the Net Gain Project. Liaison Officer, Dan Davis, has spoken to the first of many fishermen and stakeholders who have offered their support for the project. One such fisherman, Ray Stratford of Grimsby said:

"This is the only project of its kind to involve us from the beginning. I was pleased to take this opportunity to have a say in the future of the North Sea and the recommendations that Net Gain will make. There are so many different processes taking place at the moment, but this is the only one that I have a chance to influence. I would urge others to get involved."

Joanna Redhead, Net Gain Project Manager said:

"We are really pleased and encouraged by the response that we had from sea users at the Large Group Meeting. The membership, representation and key meeting dates for both the Stakeholder Advisory Panel and our Regional Hubs are yet to be decided. All of these decisions need the input from stakeholders throughout our project area. No decisions have been made yet, and certainly no site recommendations as our liaison team only began the data collection process last week. The Large Group Meeting gave us a wealth of important information and input from the people that matter on how we progress to the next stage. We sincerely thank all who attended for their time and enthusiasm and look forward building more relationships with sea users throughout our project area over the coming months."

If you would like more information on the Net Gain Project, please contact us in the office: 01482 382007 or visit


Interview opportunity: To arrange interviews with any key individuals please contact Dani Sewell using the details below

For more information on this media release please contact:

Dani Sewell - PR and Communications Manager

Net Gain - The North Sea Marine Conservation Zones Project

07500 333990 e:

Notes to Editors

-The UK Government is committed to establishing by 2012 a strong, ecologically coherent and well managed network of MPAs that is well understood and supported by sea users

-By protecting natural habitats and wildlife, MCZs will ensure a healthy and productive future for the region's seas.

-The final North Sea MCZs will have been carefully, transparently and collaboratively planned by those who use the sea. This will ensure that those stakeholders that live and work in and around MCZs will accept and value them.

-By the end of 2011, this project will identify and recommend Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) in the North Sea.

-Net Gain is a partnership project, which aims to secure a healthy and productive future for the North Sea and its coast line.

-Net Gain's structure is designed to ensure that advice and input from stakeholders and the best available science are integral to the development of the region's MCZ sites. The Project Team, Stakeholder Advisory Panel, Project Board and National Science Advisory Panel each have a role to play in guiding the project to a successful conclusion

-Net Gain is fundamentally about shared decision making. From the earliest planning stages, we are working closely with stakeholders to explore where MCZs could be best located, identifying possible areas of conflict and finding ways to work around them.

-Finding MCZ sites, which provide maximum benefits to nature and minimise the impact to stakeholders is central to the success of Net Gain.

-The Marine Conservation Zone Project has been established by Defra, Natural England and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee to identify and recommend Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) to Government. The Marine Conservation Zone Project will be delivered through four regional MCZ projects covering the south-west (Finding Sanctuary), Irish Sea (Irish Sea Conservation Zones), North Sea (Net Gain) and south-east (Balanced Seas). These regional MCZ projects will work with sea users and interest groups to identify MCZs and provide recommendations for sites within their regions to Government.

[Thu, Jan 28th, 2010]

Net Gain Roadshows Completed

We are pleased to say that we had a consistently high attendance throughout our roadshow events and would like thank all those who attended for their time and invaluable input.

We are currently working on ensuring that all of the questions posed throughout the two weeks are answered and will be posting all the questions and answers on here shortly.

[Mon, Dec 7th, 2009]

Net Gain Roadshow dates announced

Dove Marine Lab

January 11th 2010
3pm-5pm 6pm-8pm

Whitby Yacht Club

January 12th 2010
4pm-6pm 7pm-9pm

Humber Seafood Institute

January 21st 2010

Orbisenergy Centre

January 19th 2010
3pm-5pm 6pm-8pm

Kings Lynn
Kings Lynn Town Hall

January 18th 2010
4pm-6pm 7pm-9pm

Scarborough Spa

January 14th 2010
3pm-5pm 6pm-8pm

[Mon, Dec 7th, 2009]

Appointment of Chairman of the new MPA Science Advisory Panel

Appointment of Dr Peter Ryder to the Chair of an independent Science Advisory Panel for the selection of Marine Conservation Zones.

One of the first steps the Government has taken under the Marine and Coastal Access Act is the creation of an independent Science Advisory Panel to assist the work to select Marine Conservation Zones.

Dr Peter Ryder has been appointed as Chairman, and he is joined by a panel of world-leading marine experts. A physicist who has worked primarily in the fields of operational meteorology, and oceanography, Dr Ryder is a former Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Operations of the Met Office, where he spent most of his career. He has extensive experience in chairing executive and advisory committees.

Dr Ryder said "I am delighted to have been appointed as chairman of this Panel by the Secretary of State, Hilary Benn, and I am strongly motivated to make a success of our collective efforts. We are privileged to be able to help construct and promote strong scientific foundations for an effective network of Marine Protected Areas."

Defra is working with the statutory nature conservation bodies, Natural England and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, to establish Marine Conservation Zones to contribute to a network of Marine Protected Areas.

James Marsden, Director Marine for Natural England, said: "Today's appointment is excellent news and means that work can now begin in earnest to develop proposals for Marine Conservation Zones, which will contribute to an ecologically coherent network of Marine Protected Areas in English waters. The Science Advisory Panel's shared knowledge and expertise is formidable and will ensure that this ambitious, stakeholder-led process is informed by the best available evidence and meets key scientific criteria."

Four regional projects led by local people with an interest in the use of our seas have been set up to select potential MCZ sites. Finding Sanctuary in the South West was the first of the regional projects to be established. Tom Hooper of Finding Sanctuary said:

"Having a strong and experienced Chairman for the Science Advisory Panel is a really significant step forward for Finding Sanctuary and the regional Marine Conservation Zone projects. I hope the Panel will soon forge a strong working relationship with our Stakeholder Groups to help guide our work to develop a coherent and scientifically robust outcome for England's Marine Conservation Zones."

The Marine Conservation Zone Science Advisory Panel is an independent body which has been established to support the four regional projects in the MCZ selection process by offering objective scientific assessment of site proposals, and independent advice to Ministers. Panel members have been drawn from a diverse range of marine scientific disciplines in order to ensure a balanced and comprehensive skill set.

The Panel members are:

Professor Juliet Brodie (Natural History Museum, London)
Professor Brodie is a marine algae specialist, and she has extensive knowledge of the taxonomy, distribution and importance of algae and the activities which impact upon it. She has over 25 years experience as a marine scientist, and her work has included the identification of sites of importance for seaweed and other algae.

Professor Michael Elliott (University of Hull)
Specialising in estuary and coastal science and management, Professor Elliott has worked for 35 years as a marine scientist. He has been involved in many initiatives in the marine field both in the UK and elsewhere during this time, providing advice to many organisations, agencies and government departments, particularly regarding the environmental effects of coastal and estuarine activities and the management of those impacts.

Dr. Jason Hall-Spencer (University of Plymouth)
Dr Hall-Spencer is a lecturer in marine biology at the University of Plymouth, with a strong track record in providing input to the selection of MPAs, particularly in areas beyond 12 nautical miles from the coast. He also has personal experience of working on fishing vessels throughout Europe and a history of working within coastal communities.

Dr. Keith Hiscock (Marine Biological Association, Plymouth)
Four decades of marine biological survey and of using science to support conservation have given Dr Hiscock a wealth of knowledge relevant to the work of the SAP. After leading programmes within the nature conservation agencies, he established the Marine Life Information Network at the Marine Biological Association in 1998 and is now an Associate Fellow there.

Professor Michel Kaiser (University of Bangor) Professor Kaiser has undertaken world-leading research to understand human impacts on the marine environment and the consequences of different management strategies. He has focussed on sustainable fisheries and aquaculture issues, and has held a number of influential positions, including chair of Defra's Marine Fisheries Stakeholder Forum.

Professor Callum Roberts (University of York)
Professor Roberts is well-recognised as one of the key scientific contributors to the film The End of the Line. He has extensive experience in the science and establishment of MPAs and networks around the world. He is author of The Unnatural History of the Sea, an account of the effects of 1000 years of fishing and hunting on marine life. He currently lectures at the University of York.

Dr. Beth Scott (University of Aberdeen)
Dr. Scott's academic career as a marine ecologist includes several years working onboard fishing vessels in Alaskan waters. Her research focuses on functional linkages between bio-physical oceanographic processes, flexible life history traits and population dynamics of fish and seabird species. Her work is helping to identify critical marine habitats where predators and prey species interact.

Professor Graham Underwood (University of Essex)
Professor Underwood has research experience across a range of disciplines within the marine area, and he specialises in estuarine and coastal systems, especially the ecology and functioning of mudflats, sandflats and salt marshes. He is also a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4's environment programme Home Planet.

[Mon, Nov 16th, 2009]

Marine and Coastal Access Act paves the way for Net Gain

Today's news that the Marine and Coastal Access Bill has received Royal Assent has been welcomed by Net Gain, the dynamic new project that has been set up to identify Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) in the English North Sea.

Net Gain, based in Hull, is aiming to work with as many sea user and interest groups as possible to plan new Marine Conservation Zones throughout their project area, which runs the length of the the English coastline from the Scottish border to Felixstowe.

By working with groups such as sea anglers, fishermen and divers, the team at Net Gain aim to build an accurate picture of how the sea is used and present these groups and individuals with a unique opportunity to shape the sustainable future of the North Sea.

Joanna Redhead, Net Gain's Project Manager said:

"Net Gain is one of four regional MCZ projects covering the south-west (Finding Sanctuary), Irish Sea (Irish Sea Conservation Zones), North Sea (Net Gain) and south-east (Balanced Seas). The Marine and Coastal Access Act marks the official start of an exciting process. By taking this new approach, we aim to bring science and knowledge together at a local level, giving sea users a unique opportunity to have their say. Working like this gives us the best chance to build ownership and long term sustainability around the MCZ sites for now and into the future"

Net Gain will be holding a series of roadshow events and open meetings from Newcastle to Lowestoft to launch the project and give interested parties the chance to find out more about how they can get involved. These events will be taking place in the weeks commencing 11th and 18th January 2010.

For more information on this media release please contact:

Dani Sewell - PR and Communications Manager

Net Gain - The North Sea Marine Conservation Zone Project

07500 333990 e:

Latest News
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Net Gain Final Recommendations available to download now

New Economist for Net Gain

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