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    This report on archaeology is a contribution to the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA7) conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry (now Department of Energy and Climate Change). There is a high likelihood of surviving prehistoric archaeology (10,000 - 5000 years old) in certain areas of SEA7, most notably to the west of the Outer Hebrides for a distance of some 10km, to a depth of -20m, and in and among the islands elsewhere (particularly around Islay, Jura, Mull and the Small Isles) along the coast and between S Scotland and N Ireland. The reasons comprise a complex interplay of changing sea level and the rebound of the land once freed from the compression of ice at the end of the last Ice Age. The net result of these physical effects is that 10,000 years ago relative sea level has been up to 45m lower along much of the coast and this corresponds with the period of early human settlement in the area. In places this means that considerable areas of submerged land exist. An investigation of bathymetric, sedimentary and tidal data for the area suggests that the prehistoric land surface, including archaeological remains, may survive in many places. Cooperation between existing extraction companies and renewable industries and archaeologists elsewhere in Britain shows how the recording and investigation of archaeological material could be beneficial to both parties should work take place in SEA7. The final sections provide a preliminary examination of how matters might be taken forward to safeguard the archaeological knowledgebase without prejudicing commercial interests.

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    This report is a contribution to the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA5) conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry (now Department of Energy and Climate Change). Prehistoric submarine archaeological remains back to a date of about 12,000 years ago, Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic, could occur with low probability anywhere in the SEA5 area between the northern mainland coast and the eastern boundary of SEA5. This report presents an overview of known and likely areas with prehistoric archaeological remains, with mapped indications of relative likelihood of the presence of remains (sensitivity mapping) and with hotspots identified. The existence and possible survival of prehistoric sites is complicated by the rapid and continuing uplift of the east coast of Scotland and the immediately adjacent shelf in the Moray Firth, the fact that ice sheet covered part of the seabed obliterating most artefacts earlier than about 20,000 years BP, and that the seabed towards the median line has subsided, and was associated with extensive sea-water lakes and floating sea ice during the glacial maximum.

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    This report is a contribution to the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA3) conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry (now Department of Energy and Climate Change). This report summarises sites which are protected for reasons other than nature conservation in the SEA3 area of the North Sea. They include sites of geological importance, archaeological importance, sites of designated water quality for bathing, and areas of bivalve shellfish production. Sites of geological importance include Geological Conservation Review sites (GCRs), geological Special Sites of Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Regionally Important Geological and Geomorphological sites (RIGS). Sites of archaeological importance include wrecks and scheduled monuments. A large number of wrecks exist in the SEA3 area, most uncharted. The majority of wrecks are found in coastal waters. Important historic wrecks in UK waters are protected under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973. Water samples are regularly taken from numerous beaches along the east coast for physical, chemical and microbiological analysis. Bathing beaches are classified according to national and European standards for quality. In the UK, shellfish for human consumption must be harvested from designated production areas.

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    This report is a contribution to the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA3) conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry (now Department of Energy and Climate Change). It provides an overview of the various management plans which have been developed for the coastal zone, coastal defence, estuaries, biodiversity and coastal habitats in the SEA3 area of the North Sea. Numerous dynamic processes, both natural and man-made, affect the SEA3 coastline. After reviewing these processes, the report reviews the various coastal initiatives and management strategies which have been established to minimise their detrimental effects. Various coastal fora provide a lead in developing management strategies for the enhancement and protection of the environment in their areas. Plans include European marine site management schemes, shoreline management plans prepared by coastal defence authorities, estuary management plans, coastal habitat management plans and biodiversity action plans.

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    This report is a contribution to the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA3) conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry (now Department of Energy and Climate Change). This study provides forecast information on probable activity levels, capital expenditure, tax revenues and employment resulting from exploration and production in the SEA3 area. The SEA3 area comprises 330 blocks or part blocks in the Central and Southern North Sea. Estimates were made of the reserves which might be discovered or developed. A cautious view was taken of the number of new developments which might emanate from licensing the area. The related exploration, appraisal, development and decommissioning costs were then estimated. Economic modelling was undertaken for different oil and gas prices to calculate for each development gross revenues, development costs, operating costs, and decommissioning costs. The taxation implications were also calculated. The impact of licensing the SEA3 area on the level of employment in the UK has been calculated. The proposed licensing would make a modest but worthwhile contribution towards moderating the downward trend of employment in the North Sea industry.

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    This report is a contribution to the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA6) conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry (now Department of Energy and Climate Change). In this report maritime archaeology refers to archaeology based on the investigation of the remains of ships, boats, maritime infrastructure and such other material remains as provide insights into past societies by way of their seafaring and sea-use. Archaeological issues relating to the wrecks of aircraft are not included. After summarising the legislative framework applicable to maritime archaeology, e.g. Protection of Wrecks Act 1973, the history of maritime activity in the Irish Sea from the Palaeolithic times to the present day is reviewed. Examples of historic wrecks, some found in recent years by divers, are given. The spatial distribution of maritime archaeological remains is considered and the possible impacts of oil and gas activities are described. The report concludes with an outline of the methods used in investigating maritime archaeological remains.

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    This report is a contribution to the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA4) conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry (now Department of Energy and Climate Change) and discusses the potential for prehistoric archaeological remains to exist on the continental shelf part of the SEA4 area. The combination of post-glacial sea level rise and the subsidence of the shelf to the north of the Scottish mainland indicates that a large area of the present shelf, out to a water depth of about 150m on either side of the Orkney-Shetland Ridge, may have been dry land over 5000 years ago. Submarine archaeological studies in the Danish archipelago have established that coastal sites were an optimal place for prehistoric occupation. There is a great density of prehistoric sites in the Orkney and Shetland archipelagos, dating back to as early as 6000 years BP. Submerged sites could date back to about 9000 years BP. While shelf sites exposed to strong currents and Atlantic storm conditions are unlikely to have survived, the survival of more protected sites is quite likely. Locations where prehistoric remains might occur and have a high chance of survival are discussed. The potential impact of oil and gas operations on submarine archaeological remains is discussed. Pipe entrenching is the most likely process to uncover prehistoric archaeological deposits.

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    This report is a contribution to the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA4) conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry (now Department of Energy and Climate Change). It concerns fish and fisheries of the SEA4 area which covers the area to the west of Shetland and Orkney and most of the UK sector of the Faroe Shetland Channel. Fisheries are very important in the SEA4 area, the mixed demersal fishery for cod, haddock and whiting, the pelagic fisheries for herring and mackerel, and the industrial fishery for sandeel, being the most important. However, there are serious concerns about many fish stocks. This report discusses fish biology, the many different fisheries, trends in fish landings, management efforts to control fishing and achieve sustainable fish stocks, and the interaction between fishing and the oil and gas industry. Relevant aspects of the biology of 28 species or species groups are described. Brief descriptions of the fishery for each species are given, including the method of fishing and long term trends in landings. Statistical information on fish landings available from the International Council for the Exploration of the SEA (ICES) and data for Scottish vessels supplied by Fisheries Research Services are presented. Problems of misreporting and under-reporting are discussed.

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    This report is a contribution to the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA3) conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry (now Department of Energy and Climate Change). The report documents the known and likely occurrence of prehistoric archaeological remains across the whole floor of the North Sea including the SEA3 area, and makes suggestions on how to enhance the finding and reporting of such artefacts. Sea level change associated with the retreat of the last glaciation led to almost the whole floor of the North Sea being dry land at some time or another in the past 20,000 years. Similar exposure of the North Sea floor was also associated with earlier glacial cycles. Thus prehistoric submarine archaeological artefacts can occur over a wide area of the North Sea floor, as far north as the latitude of the Shetland Islands. While artefacts dating from the last 12,000 years are most likely, human or proto-human artefacts as old as half a million years may have survived in places. Submarine archaeological studies in the Danish Archipelago have established that coastal sites were an optimal place for prehistoric human occupation. Similar coastal sites existed over many parts of the North Sea floor in the past. The potential impact of oil and gas operations on submarine archaeological remains is discussed. Pipe entrenching is the most likely process to uncover prehistoric archaeological deposits.

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    This report is a contribution to the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA6) conducted by the Department of Trade and Industry (now Department of Energy and Climate Change). In order to understand and prioritise the nature of prehistoric archaeological sites, which might occur on the sea floor, this report considers the context of all the adjacent land masses, including the Irish Republic, and in the south the Celtic Sea and western Channel. Prehistoric submarine archaeological remains back to a date of about 225,000 years ago, Palaeolithic, Mesolithic and Neolithic, could occur with low probability in many parts of the SEA6 area. Palaeolithic archaeological sites as old as 225,000 years Before Present (BP) occur at locations on the Welsh coast, with a great density of sites from the later Mesolithic and Neolithic. Some sites therefore pre-date the last interglacial high sea level, and although they were covered by the Devensian ice sheet, material inside caves survived. Pipe entrenching is the process in the oil and gas industry most likely to disturb prehistoric archaeological deposits. Commercial site investigation using acoustics and coring could provide beneficial new archaeological data. The paper concludes with tentative suggestions for discussion of protocols and a reporting regime.