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    This report pertains to samples collected for the UK Department of Trade and Industry (now Department of Energy and Climate Change) as part of Strategic Environmental Assessment SEA1 (White Zone) from west of the Shetland Islands by Geotek Ltd from the RRS Charles Darwin during the summer of 2000. This report is the product of statistical analyses on grain size data of 109 seabed samples.

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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). This report describes the physical oceanography of the Irish Sea from St George's Channel in the south to the North Channel and the Clyde Sea in the north. The report covers the topography and depth of the sea floor, the tides, the impact of storms, stratification and its consequences and the mean circulation, all with a view to mean and extreme conditions. The predominant dynamical process is the semi-diurnal tides, with areas of both high and low energy embraced. Superimposed on this is the full range of water column structure areas that are well mixed throughout the year; areas that stratify thermally in summer; areas of freshwater influence from river discharges, leading both to nearshore density gradients and stratification; frontal regions between the well-mixed and stratified regions. The movement of the water and the amount of mixing prescribe physical effects, such as forces on structures and the movement and dispersion of contaminants, but also significantly influence biogeochemical processes including sediment erosion / deposition and movement, particularly of suspended sediment, benthic exchanges and primary productivity (via stratification, nutrient exchanges and light levels).

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    This report is a contribution to the Department of Trade and Industry's (now Department of Energy and Climate Change) Strategic Environment Assessment SEA2 for the North Sea. It draws on a wide range of data sources to provide an overview of the chemicals used in the offshore oil and gas industry, of the chemicals already in the environment and of those released into the environment from other sources. Considering the whole sea area, it should be noted that the water samples with the highest levels of chemical contamination are found at inshore estuary and coastal sites subject to high industrial usage. Approximately 2,000 chemical products are used by the offshore oil and gas industry. In 1999 some 180,000 tonnes of chemicals were discharged into the UK sector of the North Sea. Produced water is now the main source of contaminants, having overtaken drill cuttings since oil-based muds were replaced by less harmful alternatives. 24,286 tonnes of chemicals were reported as discharged to the UKCS in produced water in 1999. As oilfields mature, the amount of produced water increases. The range of chemicals used by the offshore oil and gas industry, the means of regulating them and of monitoring their use, are discussed. Evidence of biological effects caused by the release of contaminants into the sea is reviewed.

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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). The SEA4 area includes the most northerly part of the UK continental shelf, north of the Shetland Islands between the international boundaries with Norway and the Faroe Islands, and the area to the west of Shetland and the Orkney Islands. Starting with scenarios of possible exploration and development activity in the area provided by the Department of Trade and Industry, this study provides forecasts of oil and gas production, expenditure, employment and tax revenues. The impacts of future oil and gas developments in the SEA4 area on the local economies of Shetland and Orkney will be small in comparison to what has happened in the past. The main impact will be to postpone or to slow down the decline in UK oil production. Nevertheless, production from fields in the area could make significant contributions to overall UKCS production, employment and tax revenues, as well as extending the lives of facilities such as the Sullom Voe and Flotta terminals. It could help to retain employment and population in the area.

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    As part of the Department of Trade and Industry's (now Department of Energy and Climate Change) Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA6) a seabed survey was carried out. The survey comprised photography and seabed sediment and water sampling. The purpose of these surveys was to shed light on the distribution and extent of methane-derived autigenic carbonate (MDAC) in the Irish Sea. 942 photographs are available. Cruise report is available.

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    As part of the Department of Trade and Industry's (now Department of Energy and Climate Change) Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA7) a geophysical survey was undertaken on Kommandor Jack over Anton Dohrn Seamount, Rockall Bank, Hatton Bank, George Bligh Bank and Rosemary Bank. The objectives of the cruise were to collect EM120, and where water depths permit, EM1002 multibeam bathymetry and backscatter data, and also where desired, high resolution sidescan sonar data, over Anton Dohrn Seamount, George Bligh and Rosemary Banks, the eastern margin of Rockall Bank and selected areas of Hatton Bank. The aims were: to create high quality bathymetric maps of the survey areas; create acoustic backscatter maps over the same areas; when possible, define the extent of any potential coral habitats; create high resolution bathymetric, backscatter and sonar maps of specific features as may be discovered, such as mud diapers, carbonate mounds etc.; complete, during the cruise, a preliminary interpretation of the above data, to be used as a guide for the sampling and seabed photography cruise which followed immediately. This was a highly successful cruise with virtually all cruise objectives achieved. 6,384 line-km of multibeam bathymetry and backscatter data were obtained in water depths between 150 and 2,400 m. In addition, approximately 240 line-km of high resolution sidescan sonar were collected in depths between 150 and 1,500 m, and 6,323 line-km of high resolution CHIRP profiles were also collected. A cruise report is available.

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    This report describes the processing methods employed for the analysis of the SEA6 biological samples from a range of depths in the Irish Sea collected from SV Kommandor Jack in October 2004 as part of the Department of Trade and Industry's (now Department of Energy and Climate Change) Strategic Environmental Assessment SEA5. . A spreadsheet of data is included.

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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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    As part of the UK Department of Trade and Industry's (now Department of Energy and Climate Change) ongoing sectorial Strategic Environmental Assessment a seabed survey programme (SEA5) was undertaken between August and early October 2003 for the UKCS areas lying between Scotland and Orkney and Shetland. This report summarises the sediment total hydrocarbon and aromatic data generated from the analyses of selected samples from the study areas detailed: Fair Isle - 46 to 198m water depth; Outer Moray Firth A - 61 to 171m; Outer Moray Firth B - 57 to 100m; Sandy Riddle - 30 to 70m; Smith Bank - 39m; Southern Trench - 76 to 252m.

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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). This report summarises information on the ecology of planktonic species found in the SEA6 area. The Irish Sea is very diverse not only in the physical-chemical regimes operating upon it, but in the ecology of planktonic organisms found there. Data on the nutrient chemistry of the Irish Sea shows that the eastern Irish Sea is more heavily impacted by nutrients owing to freshwater run-off from land, which is far greater than in the western Irish Sea. Nutrients increased from the 1950's to the 1980's after which time the concentrations have levelled off and in some case declined. The phytoplankton biomass appears to have mirrored the influence of the nutrients both in time and space. Highest biomass (inferred from chlorophyll analysis) is generally found in regions of low salinity and tends to be greatest in the eastern Irish Sea. The phytoplankton community has also been shown to vary throughout the seasons and also within different regions or 'ecohydrodynamic' domains of the Irish Sea. The zooplankton community of the Irish Sea has also undergone significant change over the last thirty or so years. The most noticeable of these changes being a significant decrease in abundance of most of the species recorded. Some species distributions and abundances have been shown to be influenced by climate and it is highly likely that other species of plankton in the Irish Sea are also affected in this way. Climate, or more specifically the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), certainly has a major impact upon the physical-chemical environment of the region and this has a direct influence upon the ecology of planktonic organisms found in the Irish Sea.