International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) standardise the division of sea areas for statistical analysis. Each ICES statistical rectangle is ’30 min latitude and 1 degree longitude’ in size. And are approximately 30 nautical miles square.
The 15 sea areas are based on areas previously adopted for certain environmental monitoring programmes. The data from these 15 areas can be presented regionally and also reasonably aggregated to form a national picture and to develop information for the two main areas required for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive initial assessment: the Greater North Sea (Area II) and the Celtic Seas (Area III) which are existing sea areas used by OSPAR (the Oslo Paris Convention for the Protection of the North East Atlantic).
The Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic (the ‘OSPAR Convention') undertakes its work based on a number of Regions of the North-East Atlantic, which this layer shows.
The Convention was open for signature at the Ministerial Meeting of the Oslo and Paris Commissions in Paris on 22 September 1992. It was adopted together with a Final declaration and an Action Plan.
The Scottish coastline consists of a complex environment of marine inlets and linear coast formed by landform process, such as glaciations, over millions of years. This has led to a diverse range of coastline physiographic features which provide different types of habitats for a huge range of marine communities. The habitats of coastal physiographic features substantially differ in their environmental conditions from substrate type, temperature, salinity, and tidal range to wave exposure. These diverse conditions provide unique niches for an abundance of marine life.