Scottish seas set for 30 new Marine Protected Areas after historic announcement

Richard Harrington By: Richard Harrington
Date posted: 24 July 2014

Scottish seas set for 30 new Marine Protected Areas after historic announcement MCS staff and supporters have been a major influence in lengthy process Calum Duncan, MCS Scotland Programme Manager and Convenor of Scottish Environment LINK’s marine taskforce, says the Scottish Government’s announcement to more than double the size of an emerging network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) is welcome news for country’s hidden underwater wonderlands and a great step forward in the right direction.

Scottish seas set for 30 new Marine Protected Areas after historic announcement MCS staff and supporters have been a major influence in lengthy process Calum Duncan, MCS Scotland Programme Manager and Convenor of Scottish Environment LINK’s marine taskforce, says the Scottish Government’s announcement to more than double the size of an emerging network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) is welcome news for country’s hidden underwater wonderlands and a great step forward in the right direction. Protecting Scotland’s Marine Wildlife Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochhead today (July 24th 2014) gave the go-ahead for 30 new MPAs which will protect a further 12% of Scotland’s seas. The announcement will pave the way for urgent new measures to protect struggling populations of seabirds, whales and dolphins. Last year 2,510 MCS supporters were among 14,000 people who backed proposals for new MPAs during an extensive public consultation. Restoring the Health of Scotland’s Seas Calum Duncan says there has been a consensus among our marine scientists that the health of Scotland’s seas has suffered in recent decades and that threats from human activities must be better managed. “By setting up these MPAs the Government has wisely placed its confidence in that verdict. The work does not stop here - for the time-being these MPAs are just lines on maps, so careful management will be needed to ensure they actively help recover our sealife. MCS has been a major influence in this process and our members and supporters should be justly pleased.” The new sites are needed to protect and recover the full spectrum of Scotland’s sealife from large-scale and productive offshore habitats to fragile and ecologically important inshore areas around the coastline. Today’s announcement also signals a new Scottish Government resolve to provide protection in critical habitats for other nationally important mobile species such as basking sharks, minke whale and Risso’s dolphins. More Stringent Fisheries Management Measures in Place Licensed activities at sea will be subject to the new nature conservation MPA designation orders that come into force on August 7th. Fisheries management measures for all of the sites will be developed during an intensive two years process. Together, they must ensure sealife and seabed habitats in the new MPAs are adequately protected from damaging activities t help life both inside and outside the sites to flourish.

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Did you know?…

Over 500,000 records on undersea habitats and species have been collected by volunteer Seasearch divers providing significant evidence for inshore ‘marine protected areas’

Over half a million people have voiced their support for ‘marine protected area’ designation in the UK through our campaigns

To the shelf limits, Scotland has 61% of UK waters, of which 23% are now in existing or new ‘marine protected areas’

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