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The Project

Marine Management

This project will apply the OHI+ assessment framework to the South West Marine Plan (SWMP) area with the primary goal of assisting future 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.

MMO South West Marine Plan area

Regions of the Marine Management Organisation South West Marine Plan area

Policy Relevance

To evaluate the potential use of the OHI+ as a tool to assess progress of the SWMP area, OHI+ datasets were mapped against MMO draft policy statements (using version 3, the most recent available at the time of writing).


The SWMP draft document contains 74 policy statements, categorised into Environment (n = 33), Social (n = 19) and Economic (n = 22) sub-groups. Prior to the mapping exercise, each policy statement was read and specific ‘topic areas’ identified using methods detailed in the Technical Report. Each policy statement was then assessed against the OHI+ using a decision tree to examine the capacity of the OHI+ assessment to reflect the breadth of issues covered in the SWMP. Of the 74 SWMP policies , 35 were considered to have ‘high’ relevance to the OHI+ SW  model. Seven policies were moderately relevant (‘medium’), 14 policies had ‘low’ representation and 18 did not overlap with any aspects of the OHI+ model framework. You can read more on the policy mapping methods and findings in the Technical Report or view high level results below. 


Relevance of SWMP policies to OHI+ datasets. Ring plots depict the number of policies by category ranked high, medium, low and none against South West England OHI+.


South West England OHI+ goal relevance to SWMP policies. Bar chart depicts the number of times a South West England OHI+ goal or sub-goal was ranked high, medium, low or none against a SWMP policy.

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