Dr. Rachel Shucksmith
Marine Spatial Planning Manager
Rachel manages the Marine Spatial Planning section within the Shetland UHI department, Marine Science and Technology. The section undertakes applied research and consultancy projects relating or informing marine management and decision making and is also responsible for delivering the Shetland Islands Regional Marine Plan.
Rachel has developed an international reputation in linking interdisciplinary marine science with real-life management opportunities and challenges, including marine planning. Rachel is a regularly invited speaker to conferences and workshops to provide keynotes in the area of marine planning, ecosystem-based management, and integration of local values in marine planning. Rachel’s research sections achievements include:
- development of decision support tools to guide commercial decision making (e.g. offshore renewables, oil and gas, harbour management)
- development of one of Europe’s first and most advanced marine plans in Shetland
- integration of cultural ecosystem services into decision making
- marine value mapping
- inclusion of local knowledge in decision making
Rachel is particularly interested in how different data types can be used as an evidence base to inform effective decision making, and how stakeholder engagement can improve data quality and acceptance.
Rachel is currently accepting PhD students.
Current and recent projects include:
- Shetland Islands regional Marine Plan
- Shetland Community Wildlife Group – Heritage Lottery Funding
- Using marine planning to balance competing demands on the marine environment: International comparisons. MAST-S report to ECCLR committee, Scottish Parliament
- Identification of suitable locations for marine renewables in Scotland
- Participatory mapping of inshore fishing grounds around Shetland
- Fisheries management in the context of shared seas – Fisheries Innovation Scotland
- Invasive Non-Native Species monitoring at key locations around Shetland
Industry and Knowledge Exchange
Rachel regularly works with a range of commercial users including aquaculture, oil and gas, marine renewables, and fisheries and stakeholders, including NGOs, government agencies, and regulators.
Policy and Knowledge Transfer
Rachel is an invited expert and speaker at multiple international workshops developing marine planning, Co-Chair of the MASTS Marine Planning and Governance Forum, member of ICES Marine planning and coastal zone management working group, lead researcher Shetland Marine Planning Partnership, and was invited to provide evidence to Scottish Parliament ECCLR committee.