Marine Protected Areas around Scotland
More than 5,000 people spoke up in support of protecting Scottish seas recently, telling the Scottish Government: Don’t Take the P out of MPAs
MCS successfully campaigned for the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 and for it to include a requirement for a Marine Protected Area (MPA) network to be established in Scottish waters which would form part of a wider UK network.
The Scottish Government leads on the Scottish MPA project, with which we have been closely involved for a number of years, which identified new nature conservation MPAs around Scotland to the continental shelf limit, an area comprising 61% of all UK seas. In July 2014, 30 new nature conservation MPAs were designated, including all our preferred options and a site that is the largest MPA in Europe, and a commitment to consult on a further four in 2015.
The process was driven by scientific advice from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), but organisations and individuals, including MCS, were able to scrutinise each round of advice and also to submit additional proposals where they felt a good scientific case could be made and support demonstrated. Four such proposals from MCS were included in the 30 that were announced: Loch Fyne, Loch Sween, Loch Sunart and Lochs Duich, Long and Alsh, the latter containing what may be the world’s biggest flame shell bed.
As the project goes forward, MCS continues to push for a coherent network of Scottish MPAs, protected from damaging activities, to help recover Scotland’s seas. Next up is a consultation on management options for those new inshore nature conservation MPAs and inshore European SACs deemed most at-risk from fishing. These sites must not be paper parks, and must be adequately protected from trawling and dredging, if we are to recover our seas.
Find out more at www.savescottishseas.org, the marine campaign partnership that MCS co-ordinates in Scotland.