Increasingly zonal management through spatial planning is seen as a tool to reconcile competing resource demands in the marine environment. The Government’s commitment to a system of spatial management is recognised in national marine policy, a key function of the intended Marine Bill is develop a spatial approach to marine planning. The process and efficacy of spatial resource management is informed by the availability and quality of relevant seabed descriptions. Currently broad scale habitat descriptions at a scale relevant to the inshore zone are not available to marine resource managers and those undertaking resource exploitation. The rationale of a project undertaken by the Sea Fisheries Committee was to develop methodologies and datasets using existing SFC assets to inform a consents decision making process. This work has a range of applications with particular relevance to marine conservation and fisheries management and the aggregate extraction consenting process. Previous studies by the SFC, funded through the ALSF, have developed datasets to describe inshore fisheries and tested the ability of SFC assets to map the seabed. During this project the SFC explore the relevance these methods to management and their ability to provide information relevant to marine spatial planning.An acoustic ground classification system (AGDS) collected data on routine fisheries patrols during between 2006 and 2007. To interpret and validate this acoustic dataset a bespoke survey using a towed video system was undertaken at 270 field sites in the summer of 2007. The data was used to create a hierarchical classification scheme which enabled a supervised classification and accuracy assessment of the AGDS data.