Marine activities and pressures mapping

Human activities data and pressures

  • JNCC collate spatial data (which other organisations produce) on human activities, which tell us where and, if possible, when activities occur in the UK marine environment.  Activities that occur in the UK marine environment are: fishing, renewable energy, aggregate dredging (where gravel and sand are dredged from the sea bed), oil and gas, shipping and recreational activities (e.g. yachting and diving sites).  These activities have the potential to impact the marine environment because they take place over wide areas and/or because they occur often.
  • JNCC collate datasets from a number of different organisations including other government organisations e.g. Marine Management Organisation (MMO), Marine Scotland and UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO).  We also receive datasets from industry bodies such as Oil & Gas UK, Subsea UK (who provide information on subsea cables) and the Royal Yachting AssociationThe Crown Estate provide datasets on aggregates and renewable energy.
  • JNCC are developing the spatial data held on human activities into pressure maps for the UK marine environment.  Creating pressure layers will allow JNCC to undertake monitoring based on the risk of a habitat or species.  We can sample along a gradient of risk for both habitats and species and by doing this JNCC can learn about the responses of habitats and species to pressures.  Pressures information can also be used as a proxy for information on the state of biodiversity, i.e. if the habitats exposed to a pressure to which they are sensitive.

  • Each pressure is determined by activity type, intensity and distribution.  A single pressure can be caused by more than one human activity and an activity can cause more than one pressure.  These maps show where in the marine environment a pressure is caused and therefore where there is a potential impact.  JNCC are currently creating pressure maps for the extraction (removing sediment) and abrasion (disturbance of the seabed and subsurface of the seabed) pressures.

  • By mapping different pressures alongside our marine habitat and species maps, we can find out if habitats and species are exposed to pressures that they are sensitive to.


Pressures diagram


Viewing human activity data online

  • The datasets that JNCC collate are all from other organisations.  We are working on a system to signpost users to where they can find this information.  At the moment there are many places to obtain human activity data (see more information below), it is necessary for each organisation to go back and check when an update is released, metadata can be poor and some datasets can be shared because of their licence.
  • There are online resources where they can be viewed and in some cases the data can be downloaded.  The UK has several portals where human activity data be viewed.  Scotland has the National Marine Plan Interactive .  Wales has a marine planning portal.  England has the Marine Information System.  Data can also be downloaded from  You can view and download European human activity data on EMODnet (European Marine Observation and Data Network).


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