The Marine (Scotland) Act 2010, together with the UK’s Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009, provides a number of ‘tools’ for us to use to protect and recover Scotland’s seas and the goods and services it provides. These include:
- Designating a network of MPAs that fully represents Scotland’s marine habitats and species and ensures the resilience of those features which are threatened or declining.
- Managing our MPAs proactively so all activities that potentially pose a threat are controlled. Sustainable activities must be supported, while those which have resulted in the current degraded condition must be restricted and alternatives found where necessary.
- Planning marine development so it doesn’t negatively impact on our marine environment. Use marine planning to ensure our seas achieve Good Environmental Status, that we are living within environmental limits and have a strong, healthy and just society.
- Support sustainable development of renewable energy technology, which avoids sensitive sites for wildlife. Climate change, along with fishing, is recognised to be one of the most widespread pressures on our marine environment. Renewable energy technology is a vital part of the transition to a low carbon Scotland, but given the novelty of many of these technologies, a precautionary approach must be adopted.
- An ecosystem approach to fisheries management is needed to significantly reduce impact on sensitive marine habitats and non-target species. To do this, effective governance with decisions based on sound science and monitoring is needed, together with a fit-for purpose enforcement regime and novel management techniques.
The Scottish Government is now developing a network of Marine Protected Areas. Find out how you can help to make sure this is done in a way that will help restore our seas to a condition we can be proud of.