This project will apply the OHI+ assessment framework to the South West Marine Plan area with the primary goal of assisting delivery of healthy regional ecosystems that support biodiversity and livelihoods.
In English waters Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) is currently being implemented by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) through a set of regional Marine Plans. The South West Marine Plan (SWMP) offers a regional approach for MSP in maritime areas such as the Western Approaches, English Channel and Celtic Sea.
The imminent implementation of the SWMP will provide a useful case study to test iterative developments of the OHI+ framework against. Through a variety of policy mapping and stakeholder validation exercises, the OHI+ for South West England can be compared to the SWMP's management objectives, thus ensuring the OHI+ contains local indicators that are both informative and relevant. The spatial extent of the OHI+ assessment will therefore match the extents of the MMO's South West Marine Plan area.
The SWMP provides a useful management case study as it is considered a holistic approach; essential to ensure improved delivery of food security, employment and ecosystem services. The SWMP will require regular, preferably independent, assessment to support the plan in delivery of its stated benefits. Furthermore, a baseline understanding of ecosystem health is required from which to evaluate change and measure the relative success of marine policies over time.