Marine Scotland

Award winning engagement on Marine Protected Areas

March 23, 2015 by 1 Comment | Category Marine Planning, Marine Scotland general

Marine Scotland’s Marine Environment Branch recently won the engagement award for the Scottish Public Service Awards for their work on Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

Over the last 4 years, 30 Scottish Marine Protected Areas or MPAs have been designated – 17 MPAs in Scottish territorial waters and 13 MPAs in offshore waters. This has involved many things, including an extended 16 week consultation in 2013 and a further 6 weeks at the start of 2014: substantially longer than the 12 week statutory minimum to allow more time for stakeholders to fully consider the proposals. In total, 14,717 responses were received and analysed.

The work for all of this started in 2011-2012, with five national workshops covering a range of interests and work, such as data collection and requesting views from stakeholders on initial proposals. Then between April and July 2013, nine regional events were set up with mobile, static and dive fishing community interests around Scotland: Campbeltown, Troon, Oban, Stornoway, Ullapool, Kirkwall and Lerwick, Mallaig, and Kyle of Lochalsh. A further two events were held for proposed MPAs in offshore waters. The main aim of these events was to maximise fishing industry understanding of how the site options were developed and the evidence used and the team heard from a wide range of attendees that they would want to be involved in the management of MPAs, so work started early to get the local management of MPAs right, through community based management plans.

No sooner had fisheries pre-consultation tour finished than it was time to go back on the road for the official consultation tour in partnership with other colleagues developing the draft National Marine Plan and the offshore renewables Draft Sectoral Plans – known as the Planning Scotland’s Seas consultation – to the main coastal towns and communities around the country.

In addition to providing support at these events, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) also held a number of their own drop-in events, which allowed those further afield to have a chance to hear what was being planned for a network of MPAs, as well as to ask questions on the development of local MPAs.

In combination with the SNH and JNCC drop-in events, the team completed a total of 56 consultation events, which made it the most comprehensive marine planning consultation event programme to date in Scotland.

And as if all that wasn’t enough, the team did a further nine coastal workshops as part of a study that considered the potential effects of fisheries displacement that may occur as a consequence of future MPA management.

More Information

So what’s a Marine Protected Area (MPA)?

MPAs are designed to conserve a selection of marine species and habitats and offer invaluable long-term support for the services our seas provide to society, and with these new designations, approximately 20% of Scotland’s seas are now in protected areas.

These MPAs protect a range of habitats and species including flameshell and horse-mussel beds, the common skate and ocean quahog, a large mollusc which can live for centuries and new areas also include new areas for seabirds, in particular for black guillemot as well as designations to conserve habitats they and other seabirds depend on.

There are also Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) are those which have been given greater protection under the The Habitat’s Directive because of a possible threat to the special habitats or species which they contain and to provide increased protection to a variety of animals, plants and habitats of importance to biodiversity both on a national and international scale.


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