Marine Restoration Potential (MaRePo) project is a proof-of-concept study which explores the habitat restoration potential of some key threatened and declining (subtidal) marine habitats as defined by the OSPAR convention: kelp, maerl, native oysters, horse mussels, and sea pen and burrowing megafauna communities. These habitats were chosen as they occurred within English waters and were known to have some possibility for active or passive restoration interventions. This project uses a spatial analysis approach to investigate the current, historic, and potential future distribution of these habitats in English waters (out to 200 nautical miles (nm) from the shore).
This report provides the first investigation and mapping of marine restoration potential in English waters. Although the modelling approaches chosen for the different habitats vary, the restoration potential for some habitats (such as kelp and native oysters) appears greater than for others such as maerl, horse mussels and seapen and burrowing megafauna habitat. There is a need for further refinement of the restoration potential models to improve both the confidence of the models and remove areas of hard constraint where restoration would not be possible. There is also a need to future-proof areas of potential restoration by including limitations from climate change.
Further opportunities to develop this work, refine areas for restoration as well as developing pilot restoration handbooks and testing the viability of restoration zones with on the ground pilot studies, would be beneficial.