Audit, review and prioritisation for marine invasive non-native species biosecurity planning in England.

Published online
19 Oct 2023
Published by
Natural England
Content type

O'Shaughnessy, K. A. & Yunnie, A. L. E. & Wood, C. A. & Lintott, L. R. & Stebbing, P. D.

Publication language
England & UK


This project aimed to address the gap in knowledge of the exact extent of geographic coverage, status of plans and pathways addressed and effectiveness of plans regarding invasive and non-native species (INNS) by auditing and reviewing all available marine biosecurity plans in England, UK. This information will inform priorities for biosecurity planning in the future. The ultimate aim was to have effective marine biosecurity plans in place covering marine protected areas (MPAs) in England which are located in sites of high risk. The specific objectives to meet this aim included carrying out an audit of existing marine biosecurity plans, reviewing the effectiveness of existing marine biosecurity plans and identifying a priority list for future marine biosecurity planning. This project identified 31 marine biosecurity plans in England: three plans were not made available, 14 plans were current, three plans were out of date, eight plans were in the draft stage, two were in the process of updating and one plan's status was unknown. The spatial distribution of plans around England was inconsistent, with more plans located along the south coast (particularly in southwest England) than any other coast. 24 biosecurity plans were reviewed and 15 interviews were conducted with owners of these plans. Hotspots of INNS introduction for England were identified and hotspots without any biosecurity coverage were highlighted, which included: London, Dover, Felixstowe, Southport/Blackpool and Bristol, although Southampton and Portsmouth only had localized marina-level plans in place. The most common message from plan owners were the lack of support, stakeholder interest, staff and legal obligations. A selection of international biosecurity plans was reviewed. Three key messages emerged during the review of these plans: high scoring plans backed by legislative frameworks; high scoring plans having full support (e.g. funding, staffing, training) from government bodies and high scoring plans laying out responsible parties. From the audit and review of plans, geographic gaps were identified and presented as priority areas for future biosecurity planning and identification of economic losses due to invasions.

Key words