Delivering Natural Capital Assessment Tools for the Marine Economy in the South West

Developing tools and approaches to assess marine natural capital in the South West
This project follows on from SWEEP’s contribution to the North Devon Marine Pioneer, and offers the opportunity to test SWEEP approaches in other marine applications across the South West.


The SWEEP work in the North Devon Marine Pioneer (April 2017-April 2019) laid important foundations which the team are looking to develop and explore further. This project brings together a series of follow-on initiatives that will see the learning gained so far developed further and provides opportunities to test our SWEEP approaches in other marine applications in the South West.

Some examples of the successes from the original project that will be explored include:

  • developing strong stakeholder and partner relationships
  • collating and presenting baseline data through the development of a geodatabase and a natural capital asset and risk register
  • scoping frameworks, tools and management mechanisms, particularly related to sustainability appraisal and sustainable finance.

The overarching aim of follow on work is to develop natural capital assessment tools and approaches (including financing and the design of incentives) for integrated decision‐making and environmental progress assessments. This will support DEFRA’s Marine Pioneer programme and its 25 Year Environment Plan, and the wider requirements of statutory nature conservation bodies, regulators and local authorities.


A Natural Capital Plan for the Marine Pioneer

Piloting the development of the first Marine Natural Capital Plan in England.


(Site Classification to Inform Sustainable Lives and Livelihoods for Fisheries and Ecosystems)

Research to ensure the Isles of Scilly has healthy seas.

Applying a Natural Capital Approach to Sustainability Appraisal

Understanding how natural capital approaches fit with existing regulations and practice.

Key Performance Indicators for Marine Environmental Growth

Supporting Cornwall Council to develop meaningful marine-focused targets.

Sustainable Seafood

Investigating the value of labelling schemes to small-scale fish and shellfish businesses.

Sustainable Recreation Futures

Understanding the outdoor recreational benefits in Plymouth.

Project News

Adopting a ‘wholescape’ approach to water quality assessments

SWEEP’s Water Quality and Aquaculture team have co-produced a field-leading ‘wholescape’ assessment of water quality in the Exe Estuary catchment…

SWEEP project identifies links between South West aquaculture’s future and better land-use management

A new paper published by SWEEP academics considers the effect of land-use change on water quality and the marine aquaculture (mariculture) sector….

Artificial Intelligence could help predict harmful algal blooms

A new project will develop Artificial Intelligence tools to predict harmful blooms of algae in the ocean. Harmful algal blooms…

SWEEP academics contribute to new report highlighting nature’s potential to fight climate change and biodiversity loss

SWEEP researchers from the University of Plymouth are among the authors of a major new report detailing how nature can…

Project Events

South West Marine Ecosystems – Fisheries Symposium ‘Fisheries impacts on marine habitats’

The symposium will focus on work that has been carried out within four organisations to develop tools and research studies…

Devon Maritime Forum / Devon Local Nature Partnership Summer Seminar 1: Blue Recovery

As we begin to think and move beyond our initial response to the recovery stage of the COVID-19 crisis, many…