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 Home / About Us / Communication / News / MESH project helps save seas 
MESH project helps save seas «  Back

Helping to Save Our Seas!

Sometimes when working on a scientific research project you can feel a little detached from the practical impact of your work, especially if you compare yourself with some of the high profile INTERREG funded projects that are delivering major infrastructural changes!  However, the practical importance of the MESH project has been thrown into sharp perspective recently following the publication, and the resulting high media profile, of the WWF-UK 'Marine Health Check 2005' report (see

The report claimed that the UK's seas are in crisis, with key species in serious decline; a situation probably reflected across the whole of Europe.  It blames inadequate planning and poor management by the relevant authorities, and claims that habitats, the fabric of the seabed on which marine life depends, are being destroyed, thereby threatening the very integrity of the seas.

Marine Health Check 2005
( WWF-UK 2005)

These concerns over poor management lie right at the very heart of the MESH project, whose aims include generating high quality, consistent maps of our seabed habitats for the NW European seas to give a firm basis for sustainable marine resource management in the future. With funding from INTERREG, 12 partners in five countries are working on this trans-national European project that covers a large proportion of western European seas. Not only has this project brought together staff with a large variety of skills and experience, but it has also allowed us to increase the coverage of the project results, giving it a much greater potential impact.

Soft coral and encrusting sponge
( JNCC 2004)

So, although it's depressing to hear reports in the news of marine species in decline, it's comforting to know that our work on the MESH project will potentially have huge practical importance in providing marine resource managers a source of much needed information on the distribution of marine habitats in north-west Europe. This will facilitate improvements in how we manage this important resource and its major uses such as fisheries, aggregate extraction and renewable energy (offshore wind farms).


For more details on the MESH project please visit

contact the author: Gez Thulbourn

MESH project coverage
( JNCC 2004)



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