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Annual Monitoring Survey Glossary

The following terms are used in the SEMS Annual Monitoring Survey. Please ensure that you are familiar with them before completing the survey.

A more detailed glossary on terms used to describe Marine Protected Areas and their management can be found on the UK MPA centre site.


Activities are those actions that are not plans or projects. They may be controlled or managed by competent or relevant authorities on a continuing basis or may fall outside of any jurisdiction. Many ‘recreational pursuits’ are considered as ‘activities’ as no permissions are required to carry them out.


Evidence based on personal accounts rather than facts or research.

Conservation Objective

A conservation objective is a statement describing the desired ecological/geological state (the quality) of a feature for which a Marine Protected Area (MPA) is designated. A 'feature' is one of the habitats, species or geodiversity interests that MPAs are intended to conserve. Favourable condition is when a site meets all the specific requirements of the conservation objectives.

Management Measures

How a site could be managed (also sometimes called the  management 'instrument'. Essentially any action (voluntary or regulatory) taken to achieve the conservation objectives of a site is a management measure. Management measures may be restrictive (e.g. a requirement to use a certain type of fishing gear in sensitive areas), or be mitigative. Specific measures could include physical modifications to practices (e.g. adaption of  fishing gear type, introduction of mooring buoys), education, practical and planning measures  such as voluntary agreements, administrative (e.g. permits and seasonal restrictions), financial  (e.g. mooring fees or car park charges) and legislative measures such as byelaws.  (JNCC, 2011).  

Management Scheme

A plan, prepared by the relevant authorities, that sets the framework within which activities will be managed to achieve the conservation objectives of a European marine site (Defra, 2007).

Plans and Projects

Any proposed development that is within a relevant authority’s function to control, or over which a competent authority has a statutory function to decide on application for consents, authorisation, licences or permissions.

Relevant Authority

A body that has functions in relation to land or waters within or adjacent to a marine area or European marine site (Defra, 2007).

Residual Impact

Those impacts that remain following the implementation of management measures.

Risk Category

Until and including 2016, SEMS used a list of activities to monitor annually that originated from the European Marine Site Risk Review that Natural England conducted on behalf of Defra in 2010.  Activities were categorised according to whether they posed a high, medium or low risk to EMS features.  A new list of activities was developed in 2017 by NE and SEMS which is more aligned with NE’s conservation advice, however these activities have not yet been assigned risk categories.  NE is moving towards having scientific evidence for risk and they are at an interim stage in achieving this.  

Solent European Marine Sites

The Solent contains seven international nature conservation sites: a maritime Special Area of Conservation (SAC); three Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and three Ramsar sites. The areas within these designations that lie below Highest Astronomical Tide (HAT) have become known collectively as the Solent European Marine Sites (SEMS).