Support for Barra as Special Area of Conservation will help long-term sustainability says Marine Conservation Society

Richard Harrington By: Richard Harrington
Date posted: 19 July 2013

Support for Barra as Special Area of Conservation will help long-term sustainability says Marine Conservation Society The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) says the announcement that the Sound of Barra will become a marine Special Area of Conservation (SAC) under the European Habitats Directive after the scientific case for protection was accepted by the Scottish Government is good news for marine life in the area.

Support for Barra as Special Area of Conservation will help long-term sustainability says Marine Conservation Society The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) says the announcement that the Sound of Barra will become a marine Special Area of Conservation (SAC) under the European Habitats Directive after the scientific case for protection was accepted by the Scottish Government is good news for marine life in the area. There are 19 different types of reef habitat in the Sound of Barra and the sandbanks support fragile and important features such as seagrass beds and probably the UK’s largest maerl beds. Maerl, a fragile coral-like seaweed that forms beds on the seafloor, provides important nursery grounds for commercial species such as scallops, cod and whiting, but is susceptible to damage from some human activities like heavy towed fishing gears such as scallop dredges. The Scottish Government says the management approach of the Barra SAC will involve the local community. Calum Duncan, MCS Scotland Programme Manager says, “We welcome the recognition that community support is being seen as vital in the designation of this site. However this will only work if it is backed by Government resources.” “Site protection need not affect the many important economic activities compatible with the conservation of the precious marine habitats, such as creeling, pelagic fishing and hand-diving for scallops, provided they are managed to ensure they are within sustainable limits.” Effectively protecting this site would help Scotland meet commitments under European law and make a vital contribution to the Scottish Government’s duty to deliver a coherent network of marine protected areas in Scottish waters. “SACs’ are an essential tool, along with others, to help regenerate our seas. Careful management and protection of such sites will help secure a sustainable future for the fragile coastal communities that rely upon them.”

Actions you can take


Join us today

Help protect our seas, shores and wildlife

Join now