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Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust

“Surveys like this, focused on bringing together local experts have huge value both in terms of delivering quality data from important sites and providing a platform for knowledge transfer between individuals and organisations."

Grant awarded - £500

HIWWT have been Seasearch co-ordinators for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight counties since 2005, delivering a training and diving survey programme each year to citizen scientists. Data collected during Seasearch dives is used by government conservation agencies, most recently to help inform the process of designating Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs). HIWWT has built up a substantial dataset in support of MCZs around the Isle of Wight. With Sea-Changers support, they were able to run an additional dive survey day with local experts to enhance data certainty, focused on filling data gaps which have been identified, and enriching current knowledge, thus helping to ensure ecologically important sites are protected.

Outcomes

Comprehensive surveys were carried out with detailed and high quality data of species and habitats obtained for both The Needles rMCZ and Yarmouth to Cowes rMCZ..  The data has been incorporated into evidence reports for submission to Natural England and will be used in their ongoing advice to Defra in support of rMCZs.  The data collected was of extremely high quality with detailed survey records and photos/video footage to provide further evidence.

Survey divers recorded 124 species across 5 different biotopes at Bouldnor Cliff, within the Yarmouth to Cowes rMCZ, while at Wight Spirit patch, which is within The Needles rMCZ,114 Species across 4 different biotopes were recorded.

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