The targets covering the proportion of surveyed rocky shore macroalgae communities at an acceptable condition has been achieved in the Celtic Seas and Greater North Sea Marine Strategy Framework Directive sub-regions. There is low confidence in the assessment results.

Background

UK target on rocky shore macroalgae quality

This indicator is used to assess progress against the Water Framework Directive (European Commission, 2000) ecological status boundaries and areas of unacceptable impact which are components of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive rocky habitats targets set in the UK Marine Strategy Part One (HM Government, 2012).

Key pressures and impacts

The UK Water Framework Directive risk assessments identify those pressures that are likely to cause a failure for a Water Framework Directive water body to meet its environmental objectives. These identify 52 of the 475 coastal water bodies as ‘At risk’ or ‘Probably at risk’ of failing to meet their Water Framework Directive objectives due to point source pollution containing substances such as metals and hydrocarbons. Rocky shore macroalgae may be further impacted by habitat modification, other physical disturbances and organic/nutrient enrichment in severe cases.

Measures taken to address the impacts

Measures to protect benthic habitats are set out in the UK Marine Strategy Part Three (HM Government, 2015). These include those related to the Habitats Directive (European Commission, 1992), Water Framework Directive (European Commission, 2000), Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive (European Commission, 1991a), Nitrates Directive (European Commission, 1991b), OSPAR convention, Marine Spatial Planning, land management schemes, catchment sensitive farming, and European Marine Site management schemes.

Monitoring, assessment and regional co-operation

Areas that have been assessed

Progress against the UK target was assessed for the Celtic Seas and the Greater North Sea Marine Strategy Framework Directive sub-regions and their constituent UK Regional Seas set out in Charting Progress 2 (UKMMAS, 2010).

Monitoring and assessment methods

Routine monitoring of intertidal rocky shore macroalgae communities is undertaken for the Water Framework Directive (European Commission, 2000). The Water Framework Directive rocky shore macroalgae indicator (WFD-UKTAG, 2014) combines species diversity measures and proportions of opportunistic taxa to derive an Ecological Quality Ratio.

Assessment thresholds

The indicator quality threshold is defined as the boundary for Water Framework Directive Good Ecological Status (Ecological Quality Ratio ≥0.60) or Good Ecological Potential (for Heavily Modified Water Bodies). For the Marine Strategy Framework sub-region and Regional Sea assessments, the overall indicator target is met where the proportion of surveys achieving the quality threshold meets the quantity threshold of 85%.

Regional co-operation

The indicator has not been used for the OSPAR Intermediate Assessments (OSPAR Commission, 2017) but may be used for future regional analysis. The boundary of Water Framework Directive Good Ecological Status has been set through intercalibration with other Member States of the North East Atlantic Water Framework Directive Geographical Intercalibration Group.

Assessment method

Further details on the Water Framework Directive rocky shore macroalgal index assessment method are available at the Water Framework Directive UK Technical Advisory Group website.

Baseline setting

The approach to setting reference conditions as defined for the Water Framework Directive rocky shore macroalgal tool is compliant with the approaches to setting baselines for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive as outlined by OSPAR Intersessional Correspondence Group on Coordinated Biodiversity Assessment and Monitoring (OSPAR Commission, 2012) as “a state in which the anthropogenic influences on species and habitats are considered to be negligible”.

Quality target

The target of ‘Good Ecological Status’ or ‘Good Ecological Potential’ (where mitigation measures against the modification features are considered sufficient for Heavily Modified Waterbodies), as defined for the Water Framework Directive (European Commission, 2000), is being applied as the indicator quality threshold for the first round of Marine Strategy Framework Directive assessments. The quantity target is met where ≥85% of the assessed areas within a UK Regional Sea meet this quality threshold. This conforms to the targets relating to quantity at an acceptable condition recommended by the UK Technical Advisory Group (WFD-UKTAG, 2007) for ‘Good Ecological Status’.

This may be reviewed and revised in future assessment cycles.

Aggregation approach

The approach to aggregating the Water Framework Directive water body classifications to Marine Strategy Framework Directive Regional Sea assessments is as follows:

  • Rocky Shore Macroalgae Water Framework Directive classification results for coastal water bodies from the 2015 River Basin Management Plans were collated at the survey level from the UK Water Framework Directive monitoring authorities.
  • The percentage of individual survey assessment results at each Water Framework Directive ecological status class were calculated within each UK Regional Sea.
  • Survey assessments at ‘Bad’, ‘Poor’, or ‘Moderate’ ecological status under the Water Framework Directive were categorised as being below the indicator quality target, with those at ‘Good’ or ‘High’ ecological status categorised as being above the indicator quality target.
  • The final assessment is based on the percentage of UK Regional Sea survey results that meets the indicator quality target, measured against a quantity target threshold of 85%.

Confidence assessment

The approach to determining confidence in the UK Regional Sea assessments is based on:

  • the extent to which the indicator and associated assessments fulfil certain criteria which impact the extent to which the assessment represents the available habitat relevant to the indicator.
  • the extent to which the indicator can identify the overall effect of the relevant pressures and the confidence in the assessment result being above/below the indicator target.
  • and the confidence assessment approach has been developed for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and differs to those applied during Water Framework Directive classifications to account for differences in spatial scales of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive assessment areas, the distribution of the Water Framework Directive classifications within the Regional Seas and the inclusion of the indicator quantity targets. Details of the criteria are provided in Table 1.

Table 1. Confidence assessment criteria for the UK Regional Sea Water Framework Directive rocky shore macroalgae indicator assessments.

UK Regional Sea confidence assessment criteria

Low

Medium

High

Spatial coverage of classification data

 

This criterion indicates the extent to which Water Framework Directive water bodies within a UK Regional Sea are classified by the indicator. A high proportion of water bodies classified within a Regional Sea corresponds to high confidence in the Marine Strategy Framework Directive assessment.

<33.3% of Water Framework Directive water bodies assessed

33.3% - 66.6% of water bodies assessed

>66.6% of water bodies assessed

Spatial coverage of pressures

 

This criterion provides a measure of the extent to which the classified Water Framework Directive water bodies correspond to the presence of relevant pressures (as determined through the Water Framework Directive risk assessments), indicating the potential of the Water Framework Directive classifications to detect the associated impacts of such pressures. High coverage of the areas exposed to pressure (those considered at risk of failing to achieve Good Ecological Status) by the Water Framework Directive water body classifications corresponds to high confidence within the UK Regional Sea scale Marine Strategy Framework Directive assessment.

<33.3% of At Risk or Probably at Risk water bodies assessed

33.3% - 66.6% of At Risk or Probably at Risk water bodies assessed

>66.6% of At Risk or Probably at Risk water bodies assessed

Indicator level agreement (Cohen's Kappa) between assessment results and pressure from Risk Assessments

 

Cohen’s Kappa agreement provides an indication of the extent to which the indicator Water Framework Directive classifications correspond to the risk assessments at the water body level. Agreement between water bodies categorised as ‘At Risk’ or ‘Probably at Risk’ and those at Good Ecological Status is calculated using all water body data. High confidence in the Marine Strategy Framework Directive assessments corresponds to high agreement between the indicator classifications and risk assessment results. Low correspondence may be indicative of either low sensitivity of the indicator to the pressure or indicative of a low correspondence between the risk assessment results and the true extent of the pressure (further investigation recommended).

<0.333

0.333 - 0.666

>0.666

Variability of assessment results

 

This criterion is a measure of the variability of the different Water Framework Directive water body classifications within a UK Regional Sea scale Marine Strategy Framework Directive assessment. Low variability in the Water Framework Directive classifications corresponds with high confidence in the assessment.

<66.6% of assessment units (surveys) within same Water Framework Directive status

66.6% - 83.3% of assessment unit (surveys) at same status

>83.3% of assessment units (surveys) at same status

Proximity of assessment to target

 

This criterion is a measure of the extent of the difference between the observed measure of the quantity indicator and the quantity indicator target. Large differences between the observed quantity indicator value and the quantity indicator target corresponds to high confidence in the UK Regional Sea scale Marine Strategy Framework Directive assessment.

Broad-scale habitats: assessment within 5% of the target

Broad-scale habitats: assessment within 5% - 10% of the target

Broad-scale habitats: assessment >10% of the target

The overall confidence assessment is based on the lowest extent to which the criteria are fulfilled (one-out-all-out).

Deviations by Water Framework Directive Monitoring Authorities

All UK monitoring authorities applied the methods for assessment as described within the UK Technical Advisory Group method statement.

Results

Findings from the 2012 UK Initial Assessment

This indicator was not considered within the 2012 Initial Assessment.

Latest findings

Status assessment

Assessments are based on aggregated water body classifications derived for the 2015 UK River Basin Management Plans. The results of the aggregated rocky shore macroalgae indicator assessment for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive sub-regions and UK Regional Seas is presented in Figures 1 and 2.

Figure 1. UK Regional Sea with the proportion of intertidal rocky shore macroalgae surveys failing to meet the indicator quality threshold with corresponding assessment and confidence.

 

Figure 2. UK Regional Seas with corresponding assessment results indicating coastal water bodies used for the Water Framework Directive rocky shore macroalgae classifications with corresponding ecological status.

The proportion of survey results achieving the quantity threshold has been met for both Marine Strategy Framework Directive sub-regions and all constituent UK Regional Seas. Two Regional Seas have not been assessed due to either the absence of data or habitat required by the indicator. In the Northern North Sea, Eastern English Channel, Minches and Western Scotland, Scottish Continental Shelf, and Shared waters between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, the quality threshold is met for all contributing water bodies. For the Western Channel and Celtic Seas, and the Irish Sea, while there are instances of surveys failing to meet the quality threshold, the proportion of surveys meeting the quality threshold remains above the quantity threshold of 85%.

Low confidence has been assigned to all assessments, primarily due to low spatial coverage of the Water Framework Directive assessments and low coverage of water bodies categorised as being ‘At Risk’ or ‘Probably at Risk’ from point source pollution sources within the Water Framework Directive risk assessments. Agreement between the rocky shore macroalgae assessment results and risk assessment results is low, potentially indicating either a low correlation between the indicator to point source pollution pressures (either due to variability in the indicator or the criteria used for the risk assessments) or a discrepancy between the threshold required to trigger a water body being categorised as ‘At Risk’ or ‘Probably at Risk’ and the indicator quality target threshold.

Trend assessment

Unknown: The aggregated Water Framework Directive results were not considered as part of the 2012 Initial Assessment (HM Government, 2012).

 

Further information

This first assessment is based on aggregated results from the classifications derived for the 2015 UK River Basin Management Plans. The method is based on intertidal rocky shore macroalgae assemblages and considered responsive to contaminants from inshore activities.

The indicator determines the impact to the ecological quality of rocky shore macroalgae communities of intertidal habitats by combining measures of species diversity and proportions of opportunistic taxa. These measurements are compared to undisturbed reference conditions to calculate the Ecological Quality Ratio. These are calculated for each Water Framework Directive water body throughout a 6 year period. The water body assessments indicate the average extent to which the water body deviates from reference conditions and relates this to the boundary between Moderate and Good Ecological Status (Ecological Quality Ratio ≥0.6 as set through Water Framework Directive intercalibration) to identify whether the water body has achieved the target of Good Ecological Status. The water body results are combined within each UK Regional Sea with the quantity target being met where ≥85% (broad-scale habitat threshold) of the surveys meet the quality target of Good or High Ecological Status or Good Ecological Potential.

The UK Water Framework Directive risk assessments identified a total of 11% (52 of the 475 assessed) of coastal water bodies are ‘At Risk’ or ‘Probably at Risk’ of failing to meet their environmental objectives as a result of pressures categorised as “point source pollution” pressures.

Detailed assessment results for each Marine Strategy Framework Directive sub-region are presented for each of their component UK regional sea. The sub-regions comprise of the regional seas as follows:

Greater North Sea Marine Strategy Framework Directive sub-region

  1. Northern North Sea
  2. Southern North Sea
  3. Eastern English Channel

Celtic Seas Marine Strategy Framework Directive sub-region

  1. Western Channel and Celtic Seas
  2. Irish Sea
  3. Minches and Western Scotland
  4. Scottish Continental Shelf
  5. Atlantic North-West Approaches, Rockall Trough, and Faeroe/Shetland Channel
  6. Shared Waters between Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland

Northern North Sea

The overall risk of the Northern North Sea failing to meet the target for rocky shore macroalgae can be considered as low. All Water Framework Directive assessments within the Northern North Sea indicate that rocky shore macroalgae communities are above the indicator quality target, being predominantly at Water Framework Directive Good Ecological Status (32 of the 45 surveys) with the remainder at High Ecological Status (Figure 3).

Figure 3. Outline of the Northern North Sea inshore indicating intertidal rocky shore macroalgae Marine Strategy Framework Directive assessment result and location and ecological status of the corresponding Water Framework Directive water bodies.

The corresponding risk assessments for the water bodies indicate that there are no water bodies categorised as ‘At Risk’ or ‘Probably at Risk’ of failing to achieve the indicator quality target as a result of point source pollution pressures, with the 7 classified water bodies being ‘Not at Risk’ or ‘’Probably not at Risk’ of failing. However, the Regional Sea intersects with a total of 71 water bodies, whereby 10 water bodies exist within the Northern North Sea which are considered ‘At Risk’ or ‘Probably at Risk’ from point source pollution pressures which have not been assessed with the rocky shore macroalgae indicator.

When considering indicator quality targets for Heavily Modified Water Bodies (Water Framework Directive Good Ecological Potential), none of the water bodies assessed as below the indicator quality target are categorised as Heavily Modified Water Bodies, so meeting a target of Good Ecological Potential is not considered.

The overall confidence in the Northern North Sea Regional Sea rocky shore macroalgae assessment is categorised as low. This is based on the low spatial coverage of the assessment data (7 out of 71 water bodies within the Regional Sea (Table 2)), the absence of an assessment for all of the ‘At Risk’ or ‘Probably at Risk’ water bodies in terms of point source pollution pressures (none of the 10 water bodies within the Regional Sea), and the low correspondence between the rocky shore macroalgae indicator and point source pollution pressures (Kappa agreement of 0.129).

Table 2. Summary of Water Framework Directive water body pressure information and Water Framework Directive rocky shore macroalgae index classification results aggregated to the UK Northern North Sea Regional Sea, Marine Strategy Framework Directive assessments.

Water body

Monitoring Agency

Point Source Pollution pressure

Heavily Modified Water body

Number of surveys

Water body Ecological Quality Ratio

Water Framework Directive status

Farne Islands to Newton Haven

Environment Agency

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

No

2

0.82

High

Northumberland North

Environment Agency

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

No

4

0.78

Good

Carnoustie to Fife Ness

Scottish Environment Protection Agency

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

No

3

0.80

Good

Hilton of Cadboll to Whiteness Head

Scottish Environment Protection Agency

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

No

9

0.81

High

Kinghorn to Leith Docks

Scottish Environment Protection Agency

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

No

9

0.70

Good

Souter Head to Garron Point

Scottish Environment Protection Agency

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

No

12

0.77

Good

The Keen to Isle of Noss

Scottish Environment Protection Agency

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

No

6

0.75

Good

Eastern English Channel

The overall risk of the Eastern English Channel failing to meet the target for rocky shore macroalgae can be considered as low. All Water Framework Directive assessments within the Eastern English Channel indicate that rocky shore macroalgae communities are above the indicator quality target, being predominantly at Water Framework Directive Good Ecological Status (8 of the 11 surveys) with the remainder at High Ecological Status (figure 4).

Figure 4. Outline of the Eastern English Channel Regional Sea inshore indicating intertidal rocky shore macroalgae Marine Strategy Framework Directive assessment result and location and ecological status of the corresponding Water Framework Directive water bodies.

The corresponding risk assessments for the water bodies indicate that none of the water bodies are categorised as ‘At Risk’ or ‘Probably at Risk’ of failing to achieve the indicator quality target as a result of point source pollution pressures, with 2 water bodies being ‘Not at Risk’ or ‘’Probably Not at Risk’ of failing (Table 3). However, the Regional Sea intersects with a total of 18 water bodies, whereby a further 2 water bodies exist within the Eastern English Channel which are considered ‘At Risk’ from point source pollution pressures which have not been assessed with the rocky shore macroalgae indicator.

When considering indicator quality targets for Heavily Modified Water Bodies (Water Framework Directive Good Ecological Potential), none of the water bodies assessed as below the indicator quality target are categorised as Heavily Modified Water Bodies , so meeting a target of Good Ecological Potential is not considered.

The overall confidence in the Eastern English Channel Regional Sea rocky shore macroalgae assessment is categorised as low. This is based on the low spatial coverage of the assessment data (2 out of 18 water bodies within the Regional Sea) and the low correspondence between the rocky shore macroalgae indicator and point source pollution pressures (Kappa agreement of 0.129).

Table 3. Summary of Water Framework Directive water body pressure information and Water Framework Directive rocky shore macroalgae index classification results aggregated to the Eastern English Channel Regional Sea, Marine Strategy Framework Directive assessments.

Water body

Monitoring Agency

Point Source Pollution pressure

Heavily Modified Water body

Number of surveys

Water body Ecological Quality Ratio

Water Framework Directive status

Kent South

Environment Agency

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

Yes

8

0.78

Good

Tor Bay

Environment Agency

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

No

3

0.78

Good

Western Channel and Celtic Seas

The overall risk of the Western Channel and Celtic Seas failing to meet the target for rocky shore macroalgae can be considered as low. The majority of Water Framework Directive assessments within the Western Channel and Celtic Seas indicate that rocky shore macroalgae communities are above the indicator quality target, being predominantly at Water Framework Directive Good Ecological Status (14 of the 25 surveys) with the remainder at High Ecological Status (Figure 5).

Figure 5. Outline of the Western Channel and Celtic Seas Regional Sea inshore indicating intertidal rocky shore macroalgae Marine Strategy Framework Directive assessment result and location and ecological status of the corresponding Water Framework Directive water bodies.

The corresponding risk assessments for the water bodies indicate 3 water bodies categorised as ‘At Risk’ or ‘Probably at Risk’ of failing to achieve the indicator quality target as a result of point source pollution pressures, with the remaining 5 water bodies being ‘Not at Risk’ or ‘’Probably Not at Risk’ of failing (Table 4). However, the Regional Sea intersects with a total of 28 water bodies, whereby a further 3 water bodies exist within the Western Channel and Celtic Seas which are considered ‘At Risk’ from point source pollution pressures. These have not been assessed with the rocky shore macroalgae indicator.

When considering indicator quality targets for Heavily Modified Water Bodies (Water Framework Directive Good Ecological Potential), none of the water bodies assessed as below the indicator quality target are categorised as Heavily Modified Water Bodies, so meeting a target of Good Ecological Potential is not considered.

The overall confidence in the Western Channel and Celtic Seas Regional Sea rocky shore macroalgae assessment is categorised as low. This is based on the low spatial coverage of the assessment data (8 out of 28 water bodies within the Regional Sea) and the low correspondence between the rocky shore macroalgae indicator and point source pollution pressures (Kappa agreement of 0.129).

Table 4. Summary of Water Framework Directive water body pressure information and Water Framework Directive rocky shore macroalgae index classification results aggregated to the Western Channel and Celtic Seas Regional Sea, Marine Strategy Framework Directive assessments

Water body

Monitoring Agency

Point Source Pollution pressure

Heavily Modified Water body

Number of surveys

Water body Ecological Quality Ratio

Water Framework Directive status

Barnstaple Bay

Environment Agency

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

No

3

0.73

Good

Bridgwater Bay

Environment Agency

At Risk/Probably at Risk

No

2

0.57

Moderate

Bristol Channel Inner South

Environment Agency

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

No

3

0.70

Good

Cornwall North

Environment Agency

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

No

4

0.80

High

Cornwall South

Environment Agency

At Risk/Probably at Risk

No

3

0.78

Good

Plymouth Sound

Environment Agency

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

No

3

0.82

High

Carmarthen Bay

Natural Resources Wales

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

No

3

0.77

Good

Milford Haven Outer

Natural Resources Wales

At Risk/Probably at Risk

No

4

0.81

High

Irish Sea

The overall risk of the Irish Sea failing to meet the target for rocky shore macroalgae can be considered as low. The majority of Water Framework Directive assessments within the Irish Sea indicate that rocky shore macroalgae communities are above the indicator quality target, being predominantly at Water Framework Directive High Ecological Status (50 of the 104 surveys) with the remainder at Good or Moderate Ecological Status (Figure 6).

Figure 6. Outline of the Irish Sea Regional Sea inshore indicating intertidal rocky shore macroalgae Marine Strategy Framework Directive assessment result, location, and ecological status of the corresponding Water Framework Directive water bodies.

The corresponding risk assessments for the water bodies indicate 2 water bodies categorised as ‘At Risk’ or ‘Probably at Risk’ of failing to achieve the indicator quality target as a result of point source pollution pressures, with the remaining 16 water bodies being ‘Not at Risk’ or ‘’Probably Not at Risk’ of failing (Table 5). However, the Regional Sea intersects with a total of 68 water bodies, whereby a further 12 water bodies exist within the Irish Sea. These are considered ‘At Risk’ from point source pollution pressures which have not been assessed with the rocky shore macroalgae indicator.

When considering indicator quality targets for Heavily Modified Water Bodies (Water Framework Directive Good Ecological Potential), one of the water bodies (Belfast Harbour) assessed as below the indicator quality target is categorised as a Heavily Modified Water Body, so this may need to be considered in terms of whether Good Ecological Potential has been achieved (although the outcome of this would not affect the assessment in terms of being above the target).

The overall confidence in the Irish Sea Regional Sea rocky shore macroalgae assessment is categorised as low. This is primarily based on the low spatial coverage of the assessment data (18 out of 68 water bodies within the Regional Sea), the low correspondence between the rocky shore macroalgae indicator and point source pollution pressures (Kappa agreement of 0.129). The confidence in the assessment is also reduced by the close proximity of the assessment results to the indicator target.

Table 5. Summary of Water Framework Directive water body pressure information and Water Framework Directive rocky shore macroalgae index classification results aggregated to the Irish Sea Regional Sea, Marine Strategy Framework Directive assessments.

Water body

Monitoring Agency

Point Source Pollution pressure

Heavily Modified Water body

Number of surveys

Water body Ecological Quality Ratio

Water Framework Directive status

Ards Peninsula

Department of Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

-

14

0.85

High

Belfast Harbour

Department of Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

Yes

5

0.52

Moderate

Belfast Lough Inner

Department of Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

Yes

7

0.75

Good

Belfast Lough Outer

Department of Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

No

6

0.85

High

Dundrum Bay Outer

Department of Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

-

6

0.84

High

Larne Lough Mid

Department of Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

No

3

0.79

Good

Maiden Islands

Department of Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

No

1

0.82

High

North Channel

Department of Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

No

5

0.86

High

Strangford Lough North

Department of Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

No

3

0.75

Good

Strangford Lough South

Department of Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

No

10

0.84

High

Solway Outer South

Environment Agency

At Risk/Probably at Risk

No

3

0.66

Good

Cardigan Bay Central

Natural Resources Wales

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

No

2

0.80

High

Cardigan Bay North

Natural Resources Wales

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

No

3

0.80

Good

Holyhead Bay

Natural Resources Wales

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

Yes

1

0.83

High

Balcary Point to Kirkcudbright Bay

Scottish Environment Protection Agency

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

No

8

0.72

Good

Firth of Clyde Inner - Dunoon and Wemyss Bay

Scottish Environment Protection Agency

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

No

9

0.69

Good

Loch Fyne - Middle Basin

Scottish Environment Protection Agency

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

No

9

0.69

Good

Loch Ryan

Scottish Environment Protection Agency

At Risk/Probably at Risk

No

9

0.75

Good

Minches and Western Scotland

The overall risk of the Minches and Western Scotland Sea failing to meet the target for rocky shore macroalgae can be considered as low. All Water Framework Directive assessments within the Minches and Western Scotland Sea indicate that rocky shore macroalgae communities are above the indicator quality target, being predominantly at Water Framework Directive Good Ecological Status (36 of the 71 surveys) with the remainder at High Ecological Status (Figure 7).

Figure 7. Outline of the Western Channel and Minches Regional Sea inshore indicating intertidal rocky shore macroalgae Marine Strategy Framework Directive assessment result, and location and ecological status of the corresponding Water Framework Directive water bodies.

The corresponding risk assessments for the water bodies indicate 2 water bodies categorised as ‘At Risk’ or ‘Probably at Risk’ of failing to achieve the indicator quality target as a result of point source pollution pressures, with the remaining 7 water bodies being ‘Not at Risk’ or ‘’Probably Not at Risk’ of failing (Table 6). However, the Regional Sea intersects with a total of 183 water bodies, whereby a further 10 water bodies exist within the Minches and Western Scotland Sea. These are considered ‘At Risk’ from point source pollution pressures and have not been assessed with the rocky shore macroalgae indicator.

When considering indicator quality targets for Heavily Modified Water Bodies (Water Framework Directive Good Ecological Potential), none of the water bodies assessed as below the indicator quality target are categorised as Heavily Modified Water Bodies, so meeting a target of Good Ecological Potential is not considered.

The overall confidence in the Minches and Western Scotland Regional Sea rocky shore macroalgae assessment is categorised as low. This is based on the low spatial coverage of the assessment data (9 out of 183 water bodies within the Regional Sea) and the low correspondence between the rocky shore macroalgae indicator and point source pollution pressures (Kappa agreement of 0.129).

Table 6. Summary of Water Framework Directive water body pressure information and Water Framework Directive rocky shore macroalgae index classification results aggregated to the Minches and Western Scotland Regional Sea, Marine Strategy Framework Directive assessments.

Water body

Monitoring Agency

Point Source Pollution pressure

Heavily Modified Water body

Number of surveys

Water body Ecological Quality Ratio

Water Framework Directive status

North Coast

Department of Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

No

6

0.83

High

Portstewart Bay

Department of Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

No

6

0.82

High

Rathlin Island

Department of Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

No

6

0.85

High

Inner sound

Scottish Environment Protection Agency

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

No

6

0.80

Good

Loch Erisort

Scottish Environment Protection Agency

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

No

3

0.80

High

Loch Ewe

Scottish Environment Protection Agency

At Risk/Probably at Risk

No

12

0.77

Good

Loch Linnhe (South)

Scottish Environment Protection Agency

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

No

11

0.76

Good

Loch Sunart

Scottish Environment Protection Agency

At Risk/Probably at Risk

No

12

0.77

Good

Loch Sween

Scottish Environment Protection Agency

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

No

9

0.78

Good

Scottish Continental Shelf

The overall risk of the Scottish Continental Shelf failing to meet the target for rocky shore macroalgae can be considered as low. All Water Framework Directive assessments within the Scottish Continental Shelf indicate that rocky shore macroalgae communities are above the indicator quality target, being predominantly at Water Framework Directive Good Ecological Status (26 of the 40 surveys) with the remainder at High Ecological Status (Figure 8).

Figure 8. Outline of the Scottish Continental Shelf Regional Sea inshore indicating intertidal rocky shore macroalgae Marine Strategy Framework Directive assessment result, and location and ecological status of the corresponding Water Framework Directive water bodies.

The corresponding risk assessments for the water bodies indicate 2 water bodies categorised as ‘At Risk’ or ‘Probably at Risk’ of failing to achieve the indicator quality target as a result of point source pollution pressures, with the remaining 5 water bodies being ‘Not at Risk’ or ‘’Probably Not at Risk’ of failing (Table 7). However, the Regional Sea intersects with a total of 101 water bodies whereby a further 8 water bodies exist within the Scottish Continental Shelf. These are considered ‘At Risk’ from point source pollution pressures and have not been assessed with the rocky shore macroalgae indicator.

When considering indicator quality targets for Heavily Modified Water Bodies (Water Framework Directive Good Ecological Potential), none of the water bodies assessed as below the indicator quality target are categorised as Heavily Modified Water Bodies, so meeting a target of Good Ecological Potential is not considered.

The overall confidence in the Scottish Continental Shelf Regional Sea rocky shore macroalgae assessment is categorised as low. This is based on the low spatial coverage of the assessment data (7 out of 101 water bodies within the Regional Sea) and the low correspondence between the rocky shore macroalgae indicator and point source pollution pressures (Kappa agreement of 0.129).

Table 7. Summary of Water Framework Directive water body pressure information and Water Framework Directive rocky shore macroalgae index classification results aggregated to the Scottish Continental Shelf Regional Sea, Marine Strategy Framework Directive assessments.

Water body

Monitoring Agency

Point Source Pollution pressure

Heavily Modified Water body

Number of surveys

Water body Ecological Quality Ratio

Water Framework Directive status

Kirkwall

Scottish Environment Protection Agency

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

No

9

0.74

Good

Loch Eriboll

Scottish Environment Protection Agency

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

No

6

0.73

Good

Loch Roag

Scottish Environment Protection Agency

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

No

9

0.79

Good

North Uist North

Scottish Environment Protection Agency

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

No

6

0.83

High

Olna Firth

Scottish Environment Protection Agency

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

No

1

0.63

Good

Scapa Flow

Scottish Environment Protection Agency

At Risk/Probably at Risk

No

6

0.77

Good

Strathy Point to Dunnet Head

Scottish Environment Protection Agency

At Risk/Probably at Risk

No

3

0.70

Good

Shared waters between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland

The overall risk of the Shared waters between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland failing to meet the target for rocky shore macroalgae can be considered as low. All Water Framework Directive assessments within the Shared waters between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland indicate that rocky shore macroalgae communities are above the indicator quality target, being predominantly at Water Framework Directive High Ecological Status (11 of the 17 surveys) with the remainder at Good Ecological Status (Figure 9).

Figure 9. Outline of the share waters between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland inshore indicating intertidal rocky shore macroalgae Marine Strategy Framework Directive assessment result, and location and ecological status of the corresponding Water Framework Directive water bodies.

The corresponding risk assessments for the water bodies indicate that none of the water bodies are categorised as ‘At Risk’ or ‘Probably at Risk’ of failing to achieve the indicator quality target as a result of point source pollution pressures, with the 3 classified water bodies being ‘Not at Risk’ or ‘Probably Not at Risk’ of failing (Table 8).

When considering indicator quality targets for Heavily Modified Water Bodies (Water Framework Directive Good Ecological Potential), none of the water bodies assessed as below the indicator quality target are categorised as Heavily Modified Water Bodies, so meeting a target of Water Framework Directive Good Ecological Potential is not considered.

The overall confidence in the Shared waters between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland Regional Sea rocky shore macroalgae assessment is categorised as low. This is based on the low correspondence between the rocky shore macroalgae indicator and point source pollution pressures (Kappa agreement of 0.129).

Table 8. Summary of Water Framework Directive water body pressure information and Water Framework Directive rocky shore macroalgae index classification results aggregated to the Shared waters between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland Regional Sea, Marine Strategy Framework Directive assessments.

Water body

Monitoring Agency

Point Source Pollution pressure

Heavily Modified Water body

Number of surveys

Water body Ecological Quality Ratio

Water Framework Directive status

Carlingford Lough

Department of Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

No

5

0.81

High

Lough Foyle

Department of Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

-

5

0.81

High

Mourne Coast

Department of Agriculture, Environment, and Rural Affairs

Not at Risk/Probably Not at Risk

No

7

0.84

High

Conclusions

The targets for intertidal rocky shore macroalgae communities have been met for both the Celtic Seas and the Greater North Seas Marine Strategy Framework Directive sub-regions, although confidence in the assessment is low.

The pressures which impact the rocky shore macroalgae communities operate over small spatial scales with their effect being relatively localised. In all Regional Seas, almost all rocky shore macroalgal communities meet the quality threshold. The greatest reduction in rocky shore macroalgae quality is observed within the Irish Sea and Western Channel and Celtic Sea, although the proportion of surveys meeting the quality target remains markedly above the quantity threshold in both cases. The intertidal rocky shore macroalgae communities are unlikely to be impacted by hazardous substances, physical disturbance or nutrient enrichment pressures at a level to cause a reduction in environmental status within the inshore waters of the assessed Regional Seas. The results cannot provide directional trends in quality due to the low frequency of the data.

Broader spatial coverage of surveys and of ‘At Risk’ or ‘Probably at Risk’ water bodies from point source pollution pressures would be required for a more comprehensive evaluation of the level to which pressures may be impacting UK rocky shore macroalgae communities.

As the rocky shore macroalgae assessments are based on intertidal communities, conclusions drawn relating to the effects of pressures within each Regional Sea should be limited to inshore pressures only.

The results may inform data collection and research requirements to improve the confidence of future assessments.

Knowledge gaps

From the current results, it is not possible to provide a full assessment of the target for all UK inshore waters because of the following gaps:

  • The Water Framework Directive assessments represent a small proportion of the UK coastline with assessments provided for 54 out of 475 coastal water bodies.
  • Assessments are based on communities characterised using a Reduced Species List. Full Species List data is recommended but is currently unavailable for the majority of UK surveys.
  • The assessments use Water Framework Directive classification data only and excludes additional relevant data (such as UK Conservation Agency condition assessment data). This information should be incorporated into future assessments.
References

HM Government (2012) ‘Marine Strategy Part One: UK Initial Assessment and Good Environmental Status’ (viewed on 5 July 2018)

HM Government (2015) ‘Marine Strategy Part Three: UK Programme of Measures’ December 2015 (viewed on 5 July 2018)

European Commission (1991a) 'Council Directive 91/271/EEC of 21 May 1991 concerning urban waste-water treatment' Official Journal of the European Union L 135, 30.5.1991, pages 40–52 (viewed on 8 October 2018)

European Commission (1991b) 'Council Directive 91/676/EEC of 12 December 1991 concerning the protection of waters against pollution caused by nitrates from agricultural sources' Official Journal of the European Union L 375, 31.12.1991, pages 1–8 (viewed on 8 October 2018)

European Council (1992) ‘Council Directive 92/43/EEC of 21 May 1992 on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora’ Official Journal of the European Union L 206, 22.7.1992, pages 7-50 (viewed 1 October 2018)

European Commission (2000) ‘Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for Community action in the field of water policy’ Official Journal of the European Union L 327, 22.12.2000, pages 1–73 (viewed on 8 October 2018)

OSPAR Commission (2012) ‘Meeting of the Intersessional Correspondence Group on Biodiversity Assessment and Monitoring: ICG COMBAM(3)’ 5-6 December 2012, Brussels. Chaired by Narberhaus I and Zweifel UL (viewed on 15 January 2019)

OSPAR Commission (2017) ‘Intermediate Assessment 2017’ (viewed on 21 September 2018)

UKMMAS (2010) 'Charting Progress 2: An assessment of the state of the UK seas' Published by Defra on behalf of the UK Marine Monitoring and Assessment Strategy community (viewed on 15 January 2019)

WFD-UKTAG (Water Framework Directive UK Technical Advisory Group) (2007) ‘UK Environmental Standards and Conditions (Phase 2)’ Final: SR1-2007, March 2008 (viewed on 15 January 2019)

WFD-UKTAG (Water Framework Directive UK Technical Advisory Group) (2014) ‘UKTAG Coastal Water Assessment Method, Macroalgae: Intertidal Rocky Shore Macroalgal Index’ April 2014, 978-1-906934-39-2 (viewed on 13 January 2019)

Acknowledgements

Assessment metadata
Assessment TypeUK Marine Strategy Framework Directive Indicator Assessment
 

D1 - Biological Diversity

D6 – Seafloor Integrity

 

Condition of intertidal rocky shore macroalgae (seaweed) communities in coastal waters determined using Water Framework Directive methods

 

In addition to links provided in ‘References’ section above:

European Commission (2008) ‘Directive 2008/56/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 June 2008 establishing a framework for community action in the field of marine environmental policy (Marine Strategy Framework Directive)’ Official Journal of the European Union L 164, 25.6.2008, pages 19-40 (viewed on 16 November 2018)

Point of contact emailmarinestrategy@defra.gov.uk
Metadata dateFriday, June 1, 2018
TitleCondition of intertidal rocky shore macroalgae (seaweed) communities in coastal waters determined using Water Framework Directive methods
Resource abstract

Marine Strategy Framework Directive Regional Seas were assessed using aggregated Water Framework Directive classification results for the rocky shore macroalgae indicator as undertaken for the UK Cycle 2 River Basin Management Plans.

Marine Strategy Framework Directive environmental objective targets were set according to WFD quality targets and UK Technical Advisory Group spatial criteria and favourable condition assessment thresholds.

The targets covering the proportion of surveyed rocky shore macroalgae communities at an acceptable condition has been achieved in the Celtic Sea and Greater North Sea Marine Strategy Framework Directive Sub-Regions

Linkage

In addition to references provided in above:

HM Government (2015) ‘The Water Framework Directive (Standards and Classification) Directions (England and Wales) 2015’ (viewed on 13 January 2019)

HM Government (2015) ‘The Water Framework Directive (Classification, Priority Substances and Shellfish Waters) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2015’ (viewed on 13 January 2019)

Scottish Government (2014) ‘The Scotland River Basin District (Standards) Directions 2014’ (viewed on 13 January 2019)

WFD-UKTAG (Water Framework Directive UK Technical Advisory Group) (2014) ‘UKTAG Coastal Water Assessment Method, Macroalgae: Intertidal Rocky Shore Macroalgal Index’ April 2014, 978-1-906934-39-2 (viewed on 13 January 2019)

Wells E, Wilkinson M, Wood P, Scanlan C, Best M ‘Water Framework Directive development of classification tools for ecological assessment: Macroalgae Species Richness’ Research and Development Report (viewed on 13 January 2019)

Water Framework Directive Cycle 2 River Basin Management Plans:

Conditions applying to access and use

© Crown copyright, licenced under the Open Government Licence (OGL).

Assessment Lineage

Background:

This indicator is used to assess progress against the Water Framework Directive (WFD) ecological status boundaries and areas of unacceptable impact which are components of the Marine Strategy Framework Directive rocky habitats targets set in the UK Marine Strategy Part One.

Sources of data:

Assessments use data from WFD monitoring used within the Cycle 2 River Basin Management Plans for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

Data processing:

The Rocky Shore Macroalgae index calculated for the Cycle 2 RBMPs used for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive UK assessment can be calculated using the Precision in Rocky shores Analysed To Extract Statistics (PIRATES) Microsoft Excel workbook (available for download from UKTAG).

The approach to aggregating the WFD water body classifications to the Marine Strategy Framework Directive Sub-Regions and UK Charting Progress 2 (CP2) Regional Seas is as follows:

  • Rocky Shore Macroalgae WFD classification results for coastal waterbodies from the Cycle 2 River Basin Management Plan (RBMPs) were collated at the survey level from the UK WFD monitoring authorities.
  • The percentage of individual survey assessment results at each WFD ecological status class were calculated within each Charting Progress 2 (CP2) Regional Sea.
  • Survey assessments at ‘Bad’, ‘Poor’ or ‘Moderate’ ecological status under WFD were categorised as being below the indicator quality target, with those at ‘Good’ or ‘High’ ecological status categorised as being above the indicator quality target.
  • The final assessment is based on the percentage of CP2 Regional Sea survey results that meets the indicator quality target, measured against a quantity target threshold of 85%.
Indicator assessment results
Dataset metadata

https://www.dassh.ac.uk/doitool/data/1664

Links to datasets identifiers

Please, see below

Dataset DOI

https://doi.org/10.17031/1664

The Metadata are “data about the content, quality, condition, and other characteristics of data” (FGDC Content Standard for Digital Geospatial Metadata Workbook, Ver 2.0, May 1, 2000).

Metadata definitions

Assessment Lineage - description of data sets and method used to obtain the results of the assessment

Dataset – The datasets included in the assessment should be accessible, and reflect the exact copies or versions of the data used in the assessment. This means that if extracts from existing data were modified, filtered, or otherwise altered, then the modified data should be separately accessible, and described by metadata (acknowledging the originators of the raw data).

Dataset metadata – information on the data sources and characteristics of data sets used in the assessment (MEDIN and INSPIRE compliance).

Digital Object Identifier (DOI) – a persistent identifier to provide a link to a dataset (or other resource) on digital networks. Please note that persistent identifiers can be created/minted, even if a dataset is not directly available online.

Indicator assessment metadata – data and information about the content, quality, condition, and other characteristics of an indicator assessment.

MEDIN discovery metadata - a list of standardized information that accompanies a marine dataset and allows other people to find out what the dataset contains, where it was collected and how they can get hold of it.

Recommended reference for this indicator assessment

Phillips, G.1, McGruer, K.1, Crook, D.2, Doria, L.3, Herbon, C.3, Khan, J.4, Mackie, T.5, Singleton, G.3 & Young, C.5 2018. Condition of intertidal rocky shore macroalgae (seaweed) communities in coastal waters determined using Water Framework Directive methods. UK Marine Online Assessment Tool, available at: https://moat.cefas.co.uk/biodiversity-food-webs-and-marine-protected-areas/benthic-habitats/intertidal-rocky-shore/

1Environment Agency

2Natural Resources Wales

3Joint Nature Conservation Committee

4Scottish Environment Protection Agency

5Department of Environment, Agriculture & Rural Affairs, Northern Ireland