Primary tabs


Marine Scotland Science (MSS) undertakes a wide range of monitoring covering many aspects of the Scottish marine ecosystem.

Monitoring is undertaken in Scottish Inshore Waters, using networks of volunteers and automatic recording equipment, as well as in Scottish Offshore Waters, using the MSS research vessels MRV Alba na Mara and MRV Scotia.

Marine Scotland Science also participates national monitoring programmes, such as:

  • UK Marine Monitoring and Assessment Strategy (UKMMAS)
  • UK Marine Environmental Change Network (MECN)
  • UK Marine Environmental Data and Information Network (MEDIN)

This group provides published data from monitoring these activities. For many activities, there are national or international standards for how the monitoring is undertaken.

Data Extent


UK Open Government Licence (OGL)

Other Access

The information on this page (the dataset metadata) is also available in these formats.


via the DKAN API

Contaminant and biological effect data 1999-2018 for the National Performance Framework Clean Seas Indicator 2019 and Scotland's Marine Assessment 2020

The National Performance Framework Clean Seas Indicator 2019 is the percentage of assessments of metals, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in biota and sediment showing concentrations that are unlikely to harm marine organisms in Scottish waters. The Indicator is based on a series of regional assessments in which the mean concentration of each contaminant is compared to the Environmental Assessment Criteria (EAC) or an equivalent threshold when the EAC has not been established. The regional assessments are themselves based on the 2019 assessment of the UK's Clean Seas Environment Monitoring Programme (CSEMP).

Marine Scotland. 2020. Contaminant and biological effect data 1999-2018 for the National Performance Framework Clean Seas Indicator 2019 and Scotland's Marine Assessment 2020. DOI: 10.7489/12323-1
Release Date
Spatial / Geographical Coverage Area
POLYGON ((-11.25 54.346951891567, -11.25 61.756230775651, 2.63671875 61.756230775651, 2.63671875 54.346951891567))
Temporal Coverage
1999-01-01 to 2018-12-31
English (United Kingdom)
UK Open Government Licence (OGL)
Data Dictionary

Data are submitted to the MERMAN database by relevant UK Competent Monitoring Authorities. A series of templates are populated by submitting officers and submitted to the database which has in-built data restrictions and a data filter to ensure high quality, accurate data are submitted. The data filter has formulae in-built which use Accredited Quality Control information from known standards, limits, standard deviations and/or inter laboratory calibration exercises to calculate a score. Only data that pass a threshold agreed with the national advisory bodies are used for assessments.

The data for 1999 - 2018 were extracted from MERMAN on 30 April 2020. Further data checks were made and records with obvious errors were deleted or corrected. The concentration and biological effects data were standardised to agreed units and bases and, in the case of sediment, were normalised to 5% aluminium (metals) and 2.5% organic carbon (organics). The data were grouped into time series, typically of a single contaminant in a single species at a single monitoring station. Time series with no data for the period 2013 - 2018 were excluded. These timeseries were then assessed for status and trends using the methods described at The results for the most recent CSEMP assessment can be found at the same location. (Note that if the extraction date at the top of the assessment application is later than 30 April 2020, the assessment has been updated.)

The National Performance Framework Clean Seas Indicator is constructed by selecting the timeseries in Scottish waters and making regional assessments of the concentrations of cadmium, lead, mercury, PAHs and PCBs in biota and sediment in three regions: the Northern North Sea, Minches and Western Scotland and Irish Sea (Clyde & Solway). For each contaminant or contaminant group, region, and biota / sediment, the mean concentration is compared to the EAC (or an equivalent threshold when the EAC has not been established). The Indicator is the percentage of these comparisons in which the mean concentration is significantly below the threshold. The results and the methods behind them can be found at and the links within. Regional assessments for selected contaminant groups, biological effects, and a fourth region (Scottish Continental Shelf) that are not used in the Clean Seas Indicator can also be found at the same location.

The data archived here are the raw data for the timeseries in Scottish waters of selected metals, PAHs, PCBs, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, imposex (VDS), ethoxyresorufin-O-deethylase (EROD) activity and bile metabolites. The summary measures of trend and status from each timeseries that form the input to the regional assessments are also archived.

The data and regional assessments are also the basis of the assessments of these contaminants and biological effects in Scotland's Marine Assessment 2020.

Contact Name
Marine Scotland
Contact Email
Public Access Level