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National Seasearch Project
Aim and Objectives
(updated February 2009)

Photo: Jo Jamieson/MCSAim :

To gather information on seabed habitats and associated marine wildlife in Britain and Ireland through the participation of volunteer recreational divers.


  • To encourage the participation of volunteer recreational divers in marine conservation through gathering data, particularly for areas where little data exists or where there is a conservation need,
  • To provide training in recording skills to enable volunteer recreational divers to participate in Seasearch,
  • To make quality assured Seasearch data available to partner organisations and the general public,
  • To raise public awareness of the diversity of marine life and habitats in Britain and Ireland through the dissemination of information gathered and the identification of issues arising from it.

Seasearch National Steering Group
Terms of Reference

The Seasearch National Steering Group was established in December 1999 to provide direction and oversee the development of a national Seasearch project in accordance with the project's aims and objectives.


  • develop a prioritised Seasearch development plan and monitor its progress
  • identify the most effective mechanism for delivering aspects of the development plan
  • establish and set remits for Working Groups where needed to address specific issues e.g. data management, training, methodology
  • respond to the outcomes of work carried out by the Working Groups
  • agree and oversee the allocation of funds procured on behalf of the Steering Group for national development of the project, including agreement on merit of allocating funds to regional projects
  • provide input and direction to the identification and prioritisation of target areas for regional projects and expeditions
  • ensure that data quality assurance is considered and implemented throughout the development and operation of the project
  • ensure that data is contributing appropriately and efficiently to relevant data sets
  • ensure effective feedback to participants, the public and agencies

The Marine Conservation Society will provide a secretariat role for the Seasearch Steering Group

To be nominated and elected on a 2 year renewable tenure
Current Chairperson (since September 1999) Sam Fanshawe, Director MCS

The Steering Group may wish to set up sub-groups to develop specific aspects of the programme

Frequency of meetings:
The Steering Group will meet 2-3 times per year

Members will be notified of venues and timings as appropriate

Organisations currently represented on the Steering Group are:

Marine Conservation Society, The Wildlife Trusts, Natural England, Countryside Council for Wales, Scottish Natural Heritage, Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Joint Nature Conservation Committee, Environment Agency, Marine Biological Association, British Sub Aqua Club, Professional Association of Diving Instructors, Scottish Sub Aqua Club, Sub-Aqua Association, Irish Underwater Council and Nautical Archaeological Society.


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