Isles of Scilly

Title: The SCILL-E Project (Site Classification to Inform Sustainable Lives and Livelihoods for Fisheries and Ecosystems)

Lead Partner: Isles of Scilly IFCA

Funder: SWEEP; EMFF 

Duration: May 2019 – April 2020

University of Plymouth leads: Dr Siân ReesDr Emma Sheehan

University of Plymouth staff: Dr Luke Holmes, Dr Matthew Ashley, Tom Mullier, Amy Cartwright, Harry Thatcher

The Isles of Scilly are host to a unique and biologically diverse marine environment that supports wildlife, a small-scale fishery and a significant recreation and tourism economy. The aim of the project is to develop the underpinning research to ensure that the Isles of Scilly has healthy seas which support the wide range of ecosystem functions and services alongside a sustainable and viable fishing industry. Through combining effort across the ecological and social-economic sciences the team will develop decision support tools for the IFCA.

These tools will characterise the marine environment; identify how the fisheries and other parts of the economy (e.g. recreation and tourism) are linked to the ‘condition’ of these habitats; document the (present and future) threats to key functional habitats; predict the likelihood of change and; demonstrate the potential scale of impact on ecology, economy and society. This project creates the opportunity for the IFCA to trial a new approach to management, allowing decisions to be based on a wider understanding of benefits and impacts and improving co-ordination between authorities and organisations with roles and responsibilities in managing the marine environment.

The SCILL-E Project (Site Classification to Inform Sustainable Lives and Livelihoods for Fisheries and Ecosystems)
SCILL-E Project
SCILL-E Project

“The concepts of natural capital and ecosystem services help us understand how valuable our natural environment is, how much it provides to our lives and how important it is to ensure that the underlying ecosystems continue to function and thrive. This project represents an opportunity to further trial the natural capital approaches developed in the North Devon Marine Pioneer and support the IFCA to propose management measures that benefit a sustainable and secure fishing industry."

Dr Siân Rees, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Plymouth

“The Isles of Scilly are fraught with extreme challenges for underwater research. The area is exposed, deep, extremely rocky and expensive as our underwater video equipment has already been damaged! Despite these hurdles, it is one of the most rewarding places to work due to the clear waters, and breath-taking reefs that are more impressive than anywhere else I have worked” 

Dr Emma Sheehan, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Plymouth

Scilly seabed 2019

Watch an excerpt from our towed video survey of seabed habitats surrounding the Isles of Scilly.