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AbioticDevoid of life.
AggregateThe mixture of minerals commonly used in the construction industry, that may be sourced from the seabed (Defra, 2007).
Annex I habitatsList of 189 habitats to be protected under the EC Habitats Directive by means of a network of sites.
Annex II speciesList of 788 species to be protected under the EC Habitats directive by means of a network of sites.
Appropiate AssessmentThe assessment that is required to determine the potential effect of a project or plan on an SPA or SAC (Defra, 2007).
Areas of Oustanding Natural Beauty (AONB)They are fine landscapes, of great variety in character and extent. The criteria for designation is their outstanding natural beauty. Many AONBs also fulfil a recreational role but, unlike national parks, this is not a designation criteria. The administration of planning and development control in AONBs is the responsibility of those local authorities within whose boundaries they fall. The statutory purpose of AONBs is to conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the area (
Artificial ReefAny man-made structure that is submerged, or partially submerged, at any stage of the tidal cycle. It may be placed by design for a multitude of purposes, eg piers, jetties, coastal defence, fishery enhancement, or by chance, eg shipwrecks (Anon, 2001).
BenthicA description for animals, plants and habitats associated with the seabed. All plants and animals that live in, on or near the seabed are benthos (Defra, 2007).
BenthosThose organisms attached to, or living on, in or near, the seabed, including that part which is exposed by tides as the littoral zone (based on Lincoln & Boxshall, 1987).
Biodiversity"The variability among living organisms from all sources including, inter alia, terrestrial, marine and other aquatic ecosystems and the ecological complexes of which they are part; this includes diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems." (UN Convention on Biological Diversity, 1992).
Biodiversity ConventionThe UN Convention on Biodiversity at the UNCED ‘Earth Summit’ in Rio de Janeiro 1992 to safeguard the total variety of animals, plants and all other living matter on Earth (Anon, 2001).
BiosphereThat part of the Earth’s environment that is occupied by living organisms (Anon, 2001).
BiotopeThe physical habitat with its associated, distinctive biological communities. The smallest unit of a habitat that can be delineated conveniently and is characterised by the community of plants and animals living there (Anon, 2001).
By-lawLegislation introduced at a local level to meet a specified need. Local authorities, Sea Fisheries Committees, ports and harbour authorities, for example, all have the power to introduce and enforce by-laws that can have a bearing on the marine environment and its resources (Defra, 2007).
candidate SAC (cSAC)A Natura 2000 site that has been submitted to European Commission, but has not yet had formal approval from Europe.
Closed areaProtection for managing fish stocks. An area within which fishing by one or more methods of fishing, or fishing one or more species of fish, is prohibited. Such areas may be permanently closed or be subject to closed seasons (Anon, 2001).
Closed seasonA period during which fishing for a particular species, often within a specified area, is prohibited (Anon, 2001).
Coastal watersDefined in the EU Water Framework Directive as that area of surface water on the landward side of a line, every point of which is at a distance of one nautical mile on the seaward side from the nearest point of the baseline from which the breadth of territorial waters is measured, extending where appropriate up to the outer limit of transitional waters (Anon, 2001).
Coastal zoneThe space in which land-based activities and terrestrial environments influence the marine environment and vice versa (Anon, 2001).
Common Fisheries PolicyProvides the framework for the management of the EC fisheries and Aquaculture sector, including all marine fisheries within 200 miles of member states baselines (Defra, 2007).
CommunityA group of organisms occurring in a particular environment, presumably interacting with each other and with the environment, and identifiable by means of ecological survey from other groups (from Mills, 1969).
Competent authority
Conservation"The regulation of human use of the global ecosystem to sustain its diversity of content indefinitely" (Nature Conservancy Council, 1984).
Conservation objectiveOne or more measurable or otherwise definable objectives required under Regulation 33 of the Conservation Regulations to ensure that a European site maintains a favourable conservation status (Anon, 2001).
Continental shelfThe seabed adjacent to a continent to depths of around 200 metres, or where the continental slope drops steeply to the ocean floor. Defined in law as "the sea bed and subsoil of the submarine areas adjacent to the a depth of 200 metres"; the legal landward limit is set at the outer limit of territorial waters (q.v.) (Geneva Conference on the Law of the Sea, Convention on the Continental Shelf, 1958).
Critically endangeredIUCN Red List categories - a taxon is Critically endangered when it is facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild in the immediate future (International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources 1994) (cf. 'Extinct', 'Endangered', 'Vulnerable').
DemersalLiving at or near the bottom of a sea or lake, but having the capacity for active swimming (from Lincoln et al., 1998).
DirectiveEU legislation that is binding but leaves individual member states to decide how it should meet its obligations (Anon, 2001).
Disturbance"A chemical or physical process caused by humans that may or may not lead to a response in a biological system within an organism or at the level of whole organisms or assemblages. Disturbance includes stresses". (from Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection - GESAMP, 1995).
draft SAC (dSAC)A Natura 2000 site that has been formally recommended to a devolved authority by JNCC. A site remains a dSAC until it has had Cabinet Committee approval to go out to formal public consultation.
Dredge1) The action of removing material from the seabed. 2) Bottom sampling equipment towed along the seabed for collecting benthic sediment and organisms. Dredges are also used for the commercial collection of benthic organisms, e.g. scallops, or of sediment and may be a suction or hydraulic device. Cf. 'grab'; 'trawl'.
Ecologically significant habitatHabitat of importance for the wider ecological processes, functions and species it supports (Anon, 2001).
Ecologically significant speciesA species that has a controlling influence on a community (Anon, 2001).
EcologyThe study of the inter-relationships between animals, plants and the non-living components of their environment, in their natural surroundings (Anon, 2001).
EcosystemA community of organisms and their physical environment interacting as an ecological unit (from Lincoln et al.1998). Usage can include reference to large units such as the North Sea down to much smaller units such as kelp holdfasts as "an ecosystem".
Ecosystem approachThe pursuit of a simultaneous understanding of the dynamics of all the populations in an ecosystem and their interactions with each other and their environment (Anon, 2001).
Ecosystem goods and servicesIndirect or direct benefits to human society that derive from the marine ecosystem. Examples would include food provision, nutrient cycling, gas and climate regulation (Defra, 2007).
Ecosystem managementA framework for maintaining the equilibrium between all the component parts of an ecosystem rather than focusing on individual parts of the ecosystem (Anon, 2001).
EndangeredIUCN Red List categories - a taxon is considered Endangered when it is not Critically endangered (q.v.) but is facing a very high risk of extinction in the wild in the near future (International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources 1994) (cf. 'Extinct', 'Critically endangered', 'Vulnerable').
EndemicReferring to organisms that are confined to a particular area or geographical location (Prescott, 1969).
EnvironmentThe complex of biotic climatic, edaphic and other conditions which comprise the immediate habitat of an organism; the physical, chemical and biological surroundings of an organism at any given time. (cf. 'habitat') (from Lincoln et al., 1998).
Environmental Impact Assessment / Environmental AssessmentA process of predicting and evaluating an action's impacts on the environment, from which the conclusions are used as a tool in decision-making. It aims to minimize environmental degradation by giving decision-makers better information about the consequences which development actions could have on the environment, although it cannot, in itself, achieve that protection (based on Pritchard, 1993). An Environmental Assessment can be used to produce an Environmental Statement (ES). Cf. 'Environmental Statement' 'Strategic Environmental Assessment'.
Environmental sustainabilityThe control of current and future activities to prevent irreversible or other significant, long-term change to the environment or its dependent living resources (Anon, 2001).
EpibenthosAll organisms living on the surface of the seabed.
EstuaryA semi-enclosed coastal body of water which has a free connection with the open sea, and within which sea water is measurably diluted by fresh water derived from land drainage (Pritchard, 1967).
European Marine Site (EMS)A conservation area designated under the Habitats Directive (SAC) or the Birds Directive (SPA) (Anon, 2001).
Exclusive Economic ZoneIn international maritime law, an Exclusive Economic Zone is a sea zone extending from a state’s baselines over which the state has special rights over the exploration and use of marine resources. Generally, a state’s Exclusive Economic Zone extends 200 nautical miles (370.4 kilometres) out from the baselines, except where resulting points would be closer to another country (Defra, 2007).
ExtentIn conservation assessment - in identifying sites for protection, preference will be given to sites with larger examples of highly rated or rarer biotopes. It is also necessary to consider the size of site required to ensure that the unit to be managed is 'viable'.
ExtinctIUCN Red List categories - a taxon is 'extinct' when there is no reasonable doubt that the last individual has died (International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources 1994). The term can be applied on a local or national basis as well as world-wide and is also used to refer to situations where it no longer exists from a particular point of view (for instance: 'functionally extinct'; 'commercially extinct'). Cf. 'Critically endangered', 'Endangered', 'Vulnerable'.
FirthIn Scotland - a lengthy estuary or arm of the sea (from Stiegeler, 1976).
Fishery No Take ZoneArea of the sea closed to some or all types of fishing activity on a permanent or temporal basis (Defra, 2007).
ForeshoreThe part of the intertidal zone that lies between normal high- and low-water marks (from Allaby & Allaby, 1990). In English law, the landward limit has been defined as the line of medium high tides between the springs and the neaps, while the seaward limit is assumed to be the low-water line of ordinary tides (from Dowrick, 1977).
GrabA mechanical bottom-sampling device which is lowered vertically from a stationary ship, for collection of sublittoral sediment and infauna (hand-grabs can also be used) (based on Holme & McIntyre, 1984).
HabitatThe place in which a plant or animal lives. It is defined for the marine environment according to geographical location, physiographic features and the physical and chemical environment (including salinity, wave exposure, strength of tidal streams, geology, biological zone, substratum, 'features' (e.g. crevices, overhangs, rockpools) and 'modifiers' (e.g. sand-scour, wave-surge, substratum mobility).
Habitat Action Plan (HAP)These plans form part of the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (UKBAP) to protect UK species and habitats (Anon, 2001).
Habitats DirectiveThe abbreviated term for Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the Conservation of Natural Habitats and of Wild Fauna and Flora (Commission of the European Communities 1992). Known until about autumn 1994 informally as the "Habitats and Species Directive".
Highly Protected Marine Reserve (HPMR)Areas set aside from all damaging and potentially damaging uses to enable the recovery of ecosystem structure and function.
Hydraulic dredgeBottom sampling equipment for collecting benthic sediment and organisms, towed along the seabed using pumped water to draw material up a tube. Such dredges are also used for the commercial collection of benthic organisms, e.g. cockles.
ImportanceIn the context of marine natural heritage: species or biotopes which are rare or very restricted in their distribution; species or biotopes that are in decline or have been; species or biotopes where a country has a high proportion of the regional or world population or extent; species that are keystone in a biotope by providing a habitat for other species; biotopes with a particularly high species richness; locations or biotopes that are particularly good or extensive representatives of their type. Species will also be 'important' if they are listed for protection on statutes, directives and conventions.
InfaunaBenthic animals which live within the seabed.
Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM)The co-ordination of all activities, regulatory and management functions to safeguard all natural resources and processes found in and affecting the coastal zone (Anon, 2001).
Interest FeatureDefined in the JNCC common standards framework as "A habitat, habitat matrix, geomorphological or geological exposure, a species or species community or assemblage which is the reason for notification of the site under the appropriate selection guidelines or, in the case of Natura 2000 and Ramsar areas, the features for which the site will be designated". The interest features of an SAC are the habitat types and species listed in Annexes I and II of the Habitats Directive, for which the site is selected.
International Importance1) in biotopes or areas (conservation assessment) -biotopes or areas which are highly rated in a coastal sector (q.v.) are considered of international importance if they are one of the best examples or only examples present in the north-east Atlantic (North Cape, Norway to Gibraltar). This was, until 1995, defined for communities as being: "Communities which are outstandingly good examples of their type in the north-east Atlantic. Communities recorded at only a very few locations in the north-east Atlantic" (Hiscock & Mitchell 1989). Cf. 'international importance: species', 'local importance', 'national importance', 'regional importance' (biotopes or areas and species). 2) In species (conservation assessment) -species which are recorded at only a very few locations in the north-eastern Atlantic. Species recorded in higher abundance in the area under consideration than anywhere else in the north-eastern Atlantic, or where the area is one of only a few locations where large quantities are recorded (Davies et al., 1990, based on Hiscock & Mitchell, 1989). Cf. 'international importance: biotopes or areas', 'local importance', 'national importance', 'regional importance' (biotopes or areas and species).
IntertidalThe zone between the highest and lowest tides (from Lincoln et al., 1998).
Keystone speciesA species which, through its predatory activities (for instance, grazing by sea urchins) or by mediating competition between prey species (for instance, by eating sea urchins), maintains community composition and structure. Removal of a keystone species leads to rapid, cascading changes in the structure they support (based on Raffaelli & Hawkins, 1996). The term is also applied here to species which provide a distinctive habitat (for instance a bed of the horse mussel Modiolus modiolus, or kelp plants Laminaria hyperborea) and whose loss would therefore lead to the disappearance of the associated community.
Lagoon (saline)A shallow body of coastal salt water (from brackish to hypersaline) partially separated from an adjacent sea by a barrier of sand or other sediment, or less frequently, by rocks (based on Ardizzone et al., 1988). Three features serve to identify a coastal lagoon: 1) the presence of an isolating barrier beach, spit or island; 2) the retention of all or most of the water mass within the system during periods of low tide in the adjacent sea; 3) the persistence of natural water exchange between the lagoon and the parent sea - by percolation through and/or overtopping of the barrier, through inlet/outflow channels, etc. - permitting the lagoonal water to remain saline or brackish. As defined for the EC Habitats Directive, lagoons are "Expanses of shallow coastal salt water, of varying salinity and water volume, separated from the sea by sand banks or shingle, or, less frequently, by rocks. Salinity may vary from brackish water to hypersalinity depending on rainfall, evaporation and the addition of seawater from storms or from temporary flooding by the sea in winter" (European Commission 1995).
LittoralThe area of the shore that is occupied by marine organisms which are adapted to or need alternating exposure to air and wetting by submersion, splash or spray. On rocky shores, the upper limit is marked by the top of the Littorina /Verrucaria belt and the lower limit by the top of the laminarian zone (Lewis, 1964). It is divided into separate subzones, particularly marked on hard substrata.
Local importanceIn conservation assessment - biotopes or locations which are among the best examples or the only examples within a particular physiographic feature or area of coast but occur widely elsewhere in the coastal sector (q.v.). This was, until 1995, defined as being: "communities or areas which are widespread in similar situations but for which the one mentioned is a good example in the coastal sector under consideration". (Based on Hiscock & Mitchell, 1989.) Cf. 'international importance: species', 'national importance', 'regional importance' (biotopes or areas and species).
Lough / LochLake, in Irish and Scottish respectively.
Management SchemeA plan, prepared by the relevant authorities, that sets the framework within which activities will be managed to achieve the conservation objectives of a European marine site (Defra, 2007).
Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs)Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) are a new type of Marine Protected Area (MPA) brought in under the UK Marine Act. Marine Conservation Zones will form a key part of the UK MPA network.
Marine Conservation Zones afforded a high level of protectionWelsh inshore marine sites in which all damaging and disturbing activities will be excluded. They will be recommended to the Welsh Assembly Government by the Countryside Council for Wales in 2012.
Marine Consultation Area (MCA)A non-statutory nature conservation designation for Scotland. It identifies areas of nature conservation interest for which widespread consultation is desirable before any development takes place (Anon, 2001).
Marine inletAs defined for the Habitats Directive, 'large shallow inlets and bays' are: "Large indentations of the coast where, in contrast to estuaries, the influence of freshwater is generally limited. These shallow indentations are generally sheltered from wave action and contain a great diversity of sediments and substrates with a well developed zonation of benthic communities" (European Commission 1995). 'Shallow' may be defined by the depth limit of the photic zone in open coastal waters adjoining the inlet or bay. In the UK this is interpreted for the Habitats Directive as a depth of 30 m below chart datum or shallower across at least 75% of the site."
Marine Nature Reserve (MNR)an area of sea and seabed (which can include intertidal areas) designated under the Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) for the purpose of conserving marine flora and fauna or geological or physiographic features of special interest and/or providing opportunities for study and research. The designation can be applied throughout UK territorial waters; sites designated already are Lundy MNR (England), Skomer MNR (Wales), Strangford Lough MNR (Northen Ireland) (Anon, 2001).
Marine Protected Area (MPA)Any area of intertidal or subtidal terrain, together with its overlaying water and associated fauna, flora, historical and cultural features, which has been reserved by law or other effective means to protect part or all of the enclosed environment (Kelleher 1999) (from Anon, 2001).
MudflatAn expanse of mud or muddy sediment in the intertidal zone. The 1991 CORINE biotopes manual (Commission of the European Communities, 1991) defines 'Mud flats and sand flats' as "Sands and muds, submerged for part of the tide, devoid of vascular plants, but usually coated by blue algae and diatoms." The EC Habitats Directive 'mudflats and sandflats not covered by seawater at low tide' uses the same definition (European Commission, 1995).
National Importance1) biotopes and areas (conservation assessment) - Biotopes or areas which are highly rated in the coastal sector will be described as of national importance if they are one of the best examples or only examples known in Great Britain. National importance can apply to biotopes which are, or are likely to be, widely occurring in other similar physiographic situations in the north-eastern Atlantic. 2) species (conservation assessment) - considered to be those benthic species which are nationally rare or nationally scarce. A species may also be nationally important where a high proportion of the world population occurs in Britain, even though the species might be widespread in Britain. A nationally important species could be one whose numbers are declining rapidly.
Natura 2000The EU-wide network of protected sites established under the Birds Directive (SPA) and the Habitats Directive (SAC) (Anon, 2001).
Natural habitatAs defined by the Habitats Directive (q.v.) "natural habitats means terrestrial or aquatic areas distinguished by geographic, abiotic and biotic features, whether entirely natural or semi-natural." (Commission of the European Communities, 1992).
Nature conservationThe regulation of human use of the global ecosystem to sustain its diversity of content indefinitely (Nature Conservancy Council, 1984).
No Take Zone (NTZ)A marine protected area (MPA) from which the removal of any resources, living or dead is prohibited (Anon, 2001).
Non-governmental organisationAn organization that is not part of the local or state or federal government.
OSPARA combination (1992) of two earlier conventions (Oslo and Paris) to create the convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the Northeast Atlantic. Annex V addresses the protection and conservation of ecosystems and biological diversity (Anon, 2001).
Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA)An area that needs special protection through action by IMO because of its significance for recognised ecological or socio-economic or scientific reasons and which may be vulnerable to environmental damage by maritime traffic (IMO, 1991).
Pelagic zoneThe open sea and ocean, excluding the sea bottom. Pelagic organisms inhabit such open waters.
possible SAC (pSAC)A Natura 2000 site that has had Cabinet Committee approval to go to consultation. A site remains a pSAC until it is submitted to the European Commission.
PottingThe setting of traps (pots) on the seabed to fish for lobsters, crabs, etc.
Precautionary PrincipleWhere there are threats of serious or irreversible environmental damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost effective measures to prevent environmental degradation (as defined in the 1992 Rio Declaration on Environment and Development) (Defra, 2007).
Priority habitatsAre natural habitats in danger of disappearance for which the EU has particular responsibility for their conservation in view of the proportion of their natural range that falls within the member states’ territory (Habitats Directive) (Anon, 2001).
Ramsar ConventionInternational Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat (Ramsar, Iran 1971). Coastal waters of particular importance can be designated as Ramsar sites but they do not normally exceed 6 m in depth. During the 1990s the convention was amended to broaden its application to embrace among others, the needs of fish with an associated move towards closer involvement with fishery management (Anon, 2001).
Rarity (species)"The current status of an organism which, by any combination of biological or physical factors, is restricted either in numbers or area to a level that is demonstrably less than the majority of other organisms of comparable taxonomic entities" (Gaston, 1994).
RecoverabilityThe ability of a habitat, community or individual (or individual colony) of species to redress damage sustained as a result of an external factor.
Red Data Book SpeciesA species listed in catalogues published by the IUCN or by national agencies, listing species which are rare, endangered or vulnerable to extinction globally or nationally.
Red list speciesA species identified as 'Extinct', 'Extinct in the wild', 'Critically endangered', 'Endangered', 'Vulnerable', 'Lower risk', 'Data deficient' or 'Not evaluated' according to criteria laid down in the IUCN Red List Categories (International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, 1994).
Regional Importance1) Species conservation - species which are unrecorded or recorded at only a few locations in similar physiographic situations in other parts of Britain. Species recorded in higher abundance in the site under consideration than in any other part of the region. Species which are at the geographical limits of their distribution might be included in this category. (Davies et al., 1990, based on Hiscock & Mitchell, 1989). Cf. 'regional importance: biotopes or areas' 'international importance', 'local importance', 'national importance' (biotopes or areas and species). 2) biotope and area conservation - Biotopes or areas which are widespread in similar situations but for which this is a good example in the coastal sector (q.v.) under consideration. Regional importance was, until 1995, defined for communities as being "Communities which are present in similar physiographic situations in Britain but which are outstandingly good examples of their type in the location under consideration, or are as good as examples of similar communities present elsewhere in Britain. Communities recorded at only a few locations in the same biogeographic region." (Davies et al., 1990, based on Hiscock & Mitchell, 1989). (Cf. 'regional importance: species', 'international importance', 'local importance', 'national importance' (biotopes or areas and species)).
Regulation (EU)Legislation that has immediate, equal and binding effect throughout all member states. The method of implementing the legislation is not left to each member state to decide, as with Directives, but is specified in the Regulation. Any state that does not implement a Regulation can be reported to the Court of Justice, most probably by the Commission (EC), and fined (Anon, 2001).
Regulation 33Paragraph in the UK Conservation Regulations that requires nature conservation bodies to advise relevant authorities as to the conservation objectives for a European marine site and notify them of any operations that may cause a deterioration to the habitat or disturbance of species for which the site has been selected (Anon, 2001).
Regulation 34Paragraph in the UK Conservation Regulations that allows the relevant authority to establish a (single) management scheme for the protection of each European marine site (Anon, 2001).
Relevant authorityA body that has functions in relation to land or waters within or adjacent to a marine area or European marine site (Defra, 2007).
Renewable energyAny naturally occurring, theoretically inexhaustible source of energy, as biomass, solar, wind, tidal, wave, and hydroelectric power, that is not derived from fossil or nuclear fuel.
RepresentativenessIn conservation assessment -typical of a feature, habitat or assemblage of species. Representative examples are identified from the range of natural or semi-natural habitats and associated communities (biotopes) within a biogeographically distinct area or the boundaries of a national territory.
ResilienceThe ability of an ecosystem to return to its original state after being disturbed (from Makins, 1991).
ResistanceThe degree to which a variable is changed following perturbation (Pimm, 1984). The tendency to withstand being perturbed from the equilibrium (Connell & Sousa, 1983).
Richness (species)The number of species in a community, habitat or sample.
Sand bankSand which rises from a level seabed towards the surface, often levelling-off in shallower depths. As defined for the EC Habitats Directive, 'sandbanks which are slightly covered by seawater all the time' are: "Sublittoral sandbanks, permanently submerged. Water depth is seldom more than 20 m below Chart Datum". They can be non-vegetated or vegetated and can include free-living species of the Corallinacea family. (European Commission, 1995).
Sand flatAn expanse of sand of sandy sediment in the intertidal zone. For definition under the EC Habitats Directive, see 'mudflat'.
Sea Fisheries CommitteeSea Fisheries Committee is a local fishery committee constituted under Section 2 of the Sea Fisheries Regulation Act 1966 for the purpose of regulating fishing for sea fish (except for salmon and migratory trout) out to 6nm (Defra, 2007).
Sea lochIn Scotland - a marine inlet (q.v.) which has fjordic or fjardic features, entered by the tide (on each cycle), and with a salinity generally greater than 30 ‰. Brackish conditions may be periodically established, particularly in the surface layers (based on Earll & Pagett, 1984). As defined for the EC Habitats Directive, 'open sea lochs' are "simple glacial features which are longer than they are wide, have no entrance sill and in which the seabed slopes gradually towards the head". See also 'fjard', 'fjord'.
Sensitivity(conservation assessment) An assessment of the intolerance of a species or habitat to damage from an external factor and the time taken for its subsequent recovery. For example, a very sensitive species or habitat is one that is very adversely affected by an external factor arising from human activities or natural events (killed/destroyed, 'high' intolerance) and is expected to recover over a very long period of time, i.e. >10 or up to 25 years ('low'; recoverability). Intolerance and hence sensitivity must be assessed relative to change in a specific factor.
ShellfishAn aquatic shelled mollusc or crustacean, especially an edible one (OED, 1990).
Site of Community Importance (SCI)Is a site which, in the biogeographic region to which it belongs, contributes significantly to the maintenance or restoration at a favourable conservation status of a habitat or species scheduled in the EU Habitats (and Species) Directive (Anon, 2001).
Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)An area of land or water notified by the Nature Conservancy Council or its successor agencies under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 as being of special nature (can include geological) conservation importance.
SoundAny deep (> 5 m depth) tidal channel between two bodies of open coastal water. Strictly, a sound is a wide expanse of water (from Earll & Pagett, 1984).
Special Area of Conservation (SAC)A site designation specified in the Habitats Directive. Each site is designated for one or mores of the habitats and species listed in the Directive. The Directive requires a management plan to be prepared and implemented for each SAC to ensure the favourable conservation status of the habitats or species for which it was designated. In combination with special protection areas (SPA), these sites contribute to the Natura 2000 network (Anon, 2001).
Special Protection Area (SPA)A site of European Community importance designated under the Wild Birds Directive (Commission of the European Communities Council Directive 79/409/EEC of 2 April 1979 on the Conservation of Wild Birds).
StabilityThe ability of an ecosystem to resist change (from Makins, 1991)
SublittoralThe zone exposed to air only at its upper limit by the lowest spring tides, although almost continuous wave action on extremely exposed coasts may extend the upper limit high into the intertidal region. The sublittoral extends from the upper limit of the large kelps and includes, for practical purposes in nearshore areas, all depths below the littoral. Various subzones are recognised (based on Hiscock, 1985).
SustainabilityMaintaining the environment's natural qualities and characteristics and its capacity to fulfil its full range of functions, including maintenance of biodiversity (from English Nature, Planning for environmental sustainability, June 1994).
Territorial watersThe seas over which a nation exercises jurisdiction and control, but within which other states have certain rights, notably for innocent passage of vessels. In UK law, the landward limit of UK territorial seas is defined as "the low water line around the coast" (Territorial Waters Order in Council 1964); the seaward limit is 12 nautical miles offshore from the landward limit.
TrawlEquipment towed behind a vessel for commercial fishing or scientific collecting. Bottom trawls collect demersal species; midwater trawls collect pelagic species.
UKBAPThe UK Biodiversity Action Plan, the Government’s programme aimed at meeting some of its obligations under the UN Convention on Biodiversity (1992) A wide range of habitat action plans (HAP) and species action plans (SAP) are being implemented to help safeguard and improve the conservation status of priority habitats and priority species (Anon, 2001).
Voluntary Marine Conservation Area (VMCA)Areas of coastline which enjoys a level of voluntary protection. VMCAs are run by a range of organisations and steering groups and are often supported by community or volunteer groups.
Vulnerable1) Open to attack or susceptible to receiving wounds or physical injury (adapted from OED, 1990). 2) IUCN Red List categories - a taxon which is not 'Critically endangered' (q.v.) or 'Endangered' (q.v.) but is facing a high risk of extinction in the wild in the medium term future (International Union for the Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources, 1994) (cf. 'Extinct', 'Critically endangered', 'Endangered').


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