Citizen science provides new scientific or environmental knowledge, through the involvement of members of the public in scientific research. Divers are one of the main volunteer groups participating in marine citizen science projects and one of the most motivated marine user groups.

This initiative was carried out by volunteer divers and assisted by the marine data officer at the Centre for Environmental Data and Recording (CEDaR). This role is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) to facilitate the collection, and collation, of marine biodiversity data from within the Northern Ireland Marine inshore region.



The collection of seabed images and observations from the volunteer divers around Rathlin Island Marine Protected Area (MPA) presented an opportunity to gather additional species and habitats data. This enabled the production of a species list and description for each site. This data was compared with previous dive surveys and was used to inform this condition assessment of the seabed habitats and faunal communities around the MPA.

Since the introduction of the demersal mobile fishing ban in 2016, the overall condition of the seabed within the Rathlin Island Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) is considered to be ‘unfavourable recovering’.

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