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11/06/15 15:57

Progress for MPA network

Progress for MPA network: Marine Scotland

Rural Affairs Secretary announces ambitious marine protection plan in Scottish waters.

The Scottish Government is putting in place ambitious management measures for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Scottish waters, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment Richard Lochhead announced today.

Following extensive consultation and engagement with a wide range of marine stakeholders, it is proposed that new statutory measures giving protection to many vulnerable habitats will take effect from 1 October 2015.

The package will not only further conservation objectives of these protected areas, but will also make a contribution towards enhancing the health of Scotland’s seas.

Mr Lochhead said:

“Scotland’s seas hold a huge range of species and habitats which are important in UK, European, and global terms. They also provide a significant fish and shellfish resource, which are important to the rural economy of Scotland. All of these commercial and non-commercial species are dependent on a healthy, clean and diverse environment. Taking action to maintain or improve the marine ecosystem will deliver long-term benefits to society, including the fishing industry.

“ We have already designated those marine features we need to protect such as maerl beds and fan mussel aggregations and now we are proposing management regimes, including limits on certain fishing activities, within each MPA. The impact in the vast majority of cases will mean modest changes to fishing patterns with very limited economic impact given the ability of vessels to fish elsewhere.

“ The people of Scotland want our precious marine environment safeguarded and I welcome the views of everyone who responded to the consultation. We owe it to future generations to take action and I was particularly struck by the comments of the pupils of Sunnyside Primary School in Glasgow , who came up with the tagline ‘We are Sunnyside Ocean Defenders and we want to defend our seas.’

“I am confident this package delivers a balanced response to all of the views we received. The measures are simpler, ambitious, yet still remain proportionate and will not only further the conservation objectives of the MPAs in question, but also contribute to enhancing the health of our seas. Of course, there is still an opportunity for Parliament and others with an interest to scrutinise the proposed measures and make representations to us prior to the measures coming into effect on 1 October 2015 – as such, I’d encourage those with an interest to do so. ”

Notes to editors

A public consultation on possible management approaches ran from 11 November 2014 to 02 February 2015. This proposed possible measures for 16 geographic locations around Scotland covering 11 MPAs designated under the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010, and 9 Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) designated under the EU Habitats Directive.

See www.gov.scot/Topics/marine/marine-environment/mpanetwork/MPAMGT/consultation2014

A report of this consultation was published today.

See www.gov.scot/Topics/marine/marine-environment/mpanetwork/MPAMGT/protectedareasmgt

Four draft Marine Conservation Orders were published today. These are for Loch Sunart to Sound of Jura, Small Isles, South Arran, and Wester Ross MPAs. Interested parties may make written representation on these up until 12 July 2015.

See www.gov.scot/Topics/marine/marine-environment/mpanetwork/MPAMGT/protectedareasmgt/conservationorders

The estimated impact on fishing activity within the restricted areas is below, although the impact can be mitigated by fishing out-with the restricted areas.

Cumulative impacts of scallop dredge management measures at all sites

Number of vessels potentially affected

Annual estimated overall impact of measures (£s)

Estimated avg annual gross of affected vessels

(£s)

% of gross potentially affected

103

302K

18.6M

1.6%

*Cumulative impacts of demersal trawl management measures

Number of vessels

potentially affected

Annual estimated overall impact of measures

(£s)

Estimated avg annual gross of affected vessels (£s)

% of gross potentially affected

309

659K

64.1M

1.03%

Measures for the other locations will be delivered using powers under the Inshore Fishing (Scotland) Act 1984.

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