Today, 24th July, marks the 5th anniversary of the Scottish Government’s historic announcement, designating 30 new nature conservation marine protected areas and proposing a further 4 for the protection of features including Risso’s dolphin, minke whale and basking shark (which are under public consultation now!).
In previous blogs we have talked about the importance of implementing appropriate management measures for human activities in our seas to protect species and habitats, whether within a marine protected area (MPA) or as part of wider management, for example the implementation of a marine spatial plan. We often refer to the term ‘Ecosystem-based Approach’ when we are talking about management measures, which is a fundamental consideration in the design and development of management. Scotland has a legal obligation to do this under its various international conservation agreements (e.g. the Convention on Biological Diversity – CBD – which commits the 196 contracting parties, including the UK, to crucial biodiversity targets designed to safeguard life on earth). But what does it actually mean?
… [Continue Reading]
Progress on Scotland’s MPA network to date
It has been 8 years since the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 received royal assent and was adopted into Scots law. This key piece of legislation, long campaigned for by the Save Scottish Seas coalition, and other environmental and community organisations, represented significant reform for the way marine conservation is carried out in Scotland. … [Continue Reading]
Did you know that Scotland is home to 3-metre long wild animals that are at greater risk of extinction than the giant panda? John Aitchison, from Friends of the Sound of Jura, a coastal community group based in Knapdale, mid-Argyll, delves into the mysterious and little known flapper skate…
Pink and twig-like, living maerl is a hard, coral-like seaweed that forms complex carpets on the seabed. These ‘maerl beds’ often form in shallow areas with strong currents and offer a place of shelter for many marine plants and animals such as other seaweeds, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, anemones and bivalve molluscs – some maerl beds have been found to host over 300 species of plants and animals!
Report concludes that we simply don’t know whether our current use of the seabed is sustainable or not
Calum Duncan reflects on the findings of a report commissioned by Scottish Environment LINK’s Marine Group to explore whether current conservation measures are sufficient to recover Scotland’s depleted seabed.
Hidden beneath the waves, rocky reefs are a haven for Scotland’s marine life.
Often covered in soft corals, sea fans, sea squirts and sponges, rocky reefs are hubs of activity, providing refuge for young fish and shellfish such as lobsters and crabs.
Guest blogger Rachael Clark, Sustainability Advisor, at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) takes us on a tour of their Green Pawprints initiative encouraging visitors to ‘leave nothing but animal tracks’. … [Continue Reading]
Horse mussel (Modiolus modiolus) communities can be found in seas all round the Scottish coastline, and are considered important hotspots for biodiversity. Individual horse mussels – growing up to 20cm in length – bind together using byssus threads (hair-like ‘beards’) to form physically complex habitat with many nooks and crannies to shelter other species. … [Continue Reading]