The environmental sensitivity mapping as one of MERRAC specific projects had been made by an expert group and the report was published as MERRAC
Technical Report based upon the 7th MERRAC Focal Points Meeting (MERRAC, May 2004). The expert group analyzed comparatively the specifications and
methodologies of the Environmental Sensitivity Index (ESI) maps of the NOWPAP Members. The ESI maps of the NOWPAP members were already developed,
used and maintained by under their respective national policies with different variants and approaches. Although the shoreline classification of the
sensitivity maps is principally based on NOAA’s ESI guidelines, there are some differences in the division of the sub-categories of the various ESI
levels, styles, symbols and specification such as media, software/systems and language. The Expert Group concluded that it would be difficult and costly
to standardize or harmonize the different methodologies and share the sensitivity maps among the NOWPAP members.
Based upon the decision made by 7th MERRAC Focal Points Meeting, the 2004 MERRAC Expert Meeting was held in Qingdao, People's Republic of China
in Novermber 2004 in order to discuss and review, at a technical level, various topics related to MERRAC specific projects. The Meeting reached
the conclusions that, taking into the account the technical, financial and political implications related to the sharing of the Environmental
Sensitivity Index (ESI) maps, it might be beneficial to develop a simplified ESI map and to share it between the NOWPAP Members. The Meeting
summarized the detailed recommendation on the future work to be forwarded to the 8th MERRAC Focal Points Meeting.
Considering the recommendations made by 2004 MERRAC Expert Meeting on regional mapping of vulnerable resources (Annex VII in UNEP/IMO/NOWPAP
/MERRAC/EM 04/8), the 8th MERRAC Focal Points Meeting agreed that it would be beneficial to develop a simplified ESI map and to share it
between the NOWPAP Members. The Meeting also agreed to simplify indices of sensitivity as three levels such as very high sensitivity, high
sensitivity and sensitive area and to set up the scale of map as 1:7,500,000.
The levels of sensitivity of shore areas are classified into 3 categories, which are conforming to the corresponding categories of NOAA
rankings and color coded accordingly as shown in following Table.
||Color of Line
||Type of Shore Area
||Exposed rocky shores
Exposed, solid man-made structures
Exposed wave-cut platforms in bedrock, mud, or clay
Exposed scarps and steep slopes in clay
||Fine to medium-grained sand beaches
Scarps and steep slopes in sand
Coarse-grained sand beaches
Mixed sand and gravel beaches
||Very High Sensitivity
||Exposed tidal flats
Sheltered rocky shores and sheltered scarps in bedrock, mud, or clay
Sheltered, solid man-made structures
Vegetated, steeply-sloping bluffs
Sheltered tidal flats
Vegetated low banks
- The whole NOWPAP region was divided into three parts: Northeast part, Southwest part, and Southeast Part. When you click one of the 3 parts of the
map covering the NOWPAP Regions, the ESI map describing each part will be displayed.
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