A new online portal which assesses the health of Scotland’s seas has been launched.
Scotland’s Marine Assessment (SMA) 2020, brings together the work of more than 250 scientists to provide an up-to-date review of our marine environment and the human activity it supports.
The portal includes 162 studies which cover climate change, how clean and safe our seas are and the diversity of our marine species. In the new year, 21 regional assessments will also go live bringing the total studies to 183, allowing people to get an understanding of the condition of the seas in their area. The project involved scientists from across a range of disciplines including oceanographers, chemists, biochemists, mathematicians, statisticians, physicists, biologists, ecologists, economists, sociologists and bacteriologists.
As well as being of benefit to scientists and industry partners that are working together to improve the state of Scotland’s seas; we hope that this resource could be used by schools and communities to deepen their understanding of the conditions of the seas in their area. The case studies from the portal would give pupils real life data and examples to contextualise their learning in numerous curricular areas and in particular link to the cross cutting themes within Learning for Sustainability. With 2020-21 being the Year of Coasts and Waters and the UN Climate Change Conference (COP 26) being held in Scotland this coming year; we know that the impact of human activity on our environment will be foremost in the minds of many young people and their families.
The headlines and next steps area of the portal sets out the key findings from studies and what work is needed to improve our marine environment.
The portal finds that climate change is the most critical factor affecting our seas and is impacting on coastal flooding, erosion and our marine species. It shows that progress is being made to improve the health of our seas, with the levels of nutrients and contaminants reducing, while marine protection measures and work to tackle marine litter needs more time to be fully effective.
It also sets out that collaboration with coastal communities, local areas and international partners is essential if improvements are to be made to the state of Scotland’s seas.
SMA 2020 has been produced by the Scottish Government, NatureScot, Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) and the Marine Alliance for Science and Technology Scotland.
It builds on the data first presented in Scotland’s Marine Atlas in 2011.