Scotland's Marine Atlas: Information for The National Marine Plan

Scotland's Marine Atlas is an assessment of the condition of Scotland's seas, based on scientific evidence from data and analysis and supported by expert judgement.



The Productive Seas chapter describes and analyses economic and spatial information about human activities in Scotland's seas. It is intended to inform the national marine plan, and is a basis upon which more detailed assessments can be made in future, some of which may be at regional scales.

After an introductory analysis of the 'economic value of Scotland's core marine sector', further sections examine each major activity and the rationale and distribution of it (' what, why and where?') using text, tabular data, graphs and maps; essentially giving information about the level of the activity over the period 2005-2009 where possible. In addition, the ' contribution to the economy', ' social, economic' and ' environmental' pressures and impacts are considered. A ' Forward Look' is also provided to identify factors of relevance to marine planning.

An important feature of this chapter is to identify not just what is known but also what is not known, and this is especially the case for the extent to which rational economic valuations can be placed on each activity.

Mapping - the approach

As much spatial information as possible, covering Scotland's seas from the shore to the fishery limits, has been mapped, including some marine-related assets built ashore. Not all activity can be mapped clearly at this level. For example, waste water treatment excludes domestic septic tank outfalls; and areas of individual or blocks of moorings are excluded in the leisure and recreation maps. These data are available and may well be required for regional planning.

The statistical data have been grouped around a map, where appropriate, and this is used to emphasise any spatial differences. The Atlas structure has necessitated taking a high level approach in some instances but all sources of data are included in the online version of the Atlas; Official statistical publications have been cited and can be consulted to provide more detail when necessary.

Wherever possible, the Atlas presents information based on Scottish sea areas, rather than the various geographical breakdowns normally adopted within the various data sets. At the time of preparation, Scottish marine regions for marine planning had not been agreed. However, the data presented in this Atlas are probably presented at about the scale suited to marine regions. Also the Atlas demonstrates where data are available and where there may be gaps.

Economic assessment - theapproach

There are two approaches used to valuation in this Atlas. The core marine sector approach uses data from the Annual Business Inquiry ( ABI), based on the Standard Industrial Classification ( SIC).

This analysis examines Gross Value Added ( GVA), turnover and employment at the overall core sector, industry and regional levels.

The core marine sector is defined as industries that predominantly rely on the sea to generate their output and is restricted to industries for which official data are available. The core marine sector includes the extraction of crude petroleum and natural gas but due to the size of the sector, it is excluded in the regional breakdowns.­­ Industries such as tourism, that make use of the sea but for which the marine element is not clearly defined by the SIC, are excluded. Non-provisioning ecosystem services are also not included. The core sector approach, therefore, underestimates the overall value of marine economic activity.

In addition, the other 16 sections examine a range of marine activities in detail, including many sectors not covered by the core marine sector approach and for which no ABI data or other official economic data are available, for example water abstraction or telephone cables. In such cases the economic assessment was based on the analysis in Charting Progress 2(1), with qualified assumptions.

In some cases data may come from different sources or use different methodologies, for example first sale value, expenditure or investment, rather than GVA, so the economic data in some sections may differ from what is shown in the core marine sector.

Marine aggregate extraction has not been included. The only licence, at Middle Bank in the Firth of Forth, has not been dredged since its last (and only) usage in 2005, as reported in Scotland's Seas(2).

The value of ecosystem goods and services is not included here. See Chapter 1 for more information.

Pressures and impacts - theapproach

The pressures and impacts of each activity for social, economic and environmental performance are tabulated in terms of positive or negative effects. This draws on both the Charting Progress 2 Productive Seas Feeder Report(3) and the UK Marine Policy Statement(4). A quantitative analysis of these has not been possible; quantitative data relate to the level of the activity only, not its impacts. It is acknowledged that current management and regulation seek to minimise the environmental pressures and impacts where possible.

Work on environmental pressures and impacts is currently being developed in the UK Marine Monitoring and Assessment Strategy community as preparation is made for implementation of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive. The tables included have adopted the most recently published pressure themes categories from the OSPARQSR(5) whilst retaining the pressures listed in Charting Progress 2.

Pressure themes and pressures in OSPARQSR(5)

Pressure theme: Climate change and physical pressures

1. Climate change
2. Temperature changes (local)
3. Salinity changes
4. Hydrological changes

Pressure theme: Pollution and other chemical pressures

5. Hazardous substances
6. Radionuclide contamination
7. De-oxygenation
8. Nutrient enrichment
9. Organic enrichment

Pressure theme: Other physical pressures

10. Electromagnetic changes
11. Litter
12. Underwater noise
13. Barriers to species movement
14. Death or injury by ship strikes
Pressure theme: Habitat changes

15. Siltation rate changes
16. Habitat damage
17. Habitat loss

Pressure theme: Biological pressures

18. Visual disturbance
19. Genetic modification
20. Microbial pathogens
21. Non-indigenous species
22. Removal of species

Back to top