Thanks for showing interest in the campaign. Our online action has just closed (11.59pm, 2nd February 2015). If you would still like to follow our campaign, you can do so by following us on Twitter, Facebook or sign up to Keep Me Informed for email updates. If you still hope to respond to the most recent consultation, please contact Marine Scotland directly by email (see details on page 22 of this Scottish Government document)
By taking part in the campaign, thousands of people added their voice to a public consultation, which called upon the Scottish Government to change their current approach to the management of Scotland’s new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). In November 2014 we learnt that Government plans for management in MPAs would fall far short of what is required for the urgent ecosystem recovery needed in Scotland’s inshore waters. The health of our seas has suffered a sad and steady environmental decline in recent decades, but amazingly Scottish Government proposals could allow scallop dredging and bottom trawling to continue largely unchanged in many areas of Scotland’s inshore MPAs. Our coalition – and our many supporters – do not agree with this approach. In short we urged Marine Scotland not to take the ‘P’ (ie the ‘protection’) out of MPAs – and create paper parks, bureaucratic lines on maps with no real benefit for anyone. We hope this (#DontTakeTheP) campaign will mean the Scottish Government now takes seriously the views of people who want to see a real change in the health of our seas – something we strongly contend will benefit our coastal communities in the long-term.
Read our #DontTakeTheP campaign
I am very concerned that proposals put forward in this consultation will not adequately protect marine habitats and species from damaging fishing activities, such as scallop dredging and bottom trawling. These nature conservation Marine Protected Areas (ncMPAs) and Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) should be managed to help protect AND recover our damaged seas. Scientists are discovering new remnant areas of fragile habitats with every passing year – we should not risk leaving these areas unprotected.Following the same scientifically precautionary approach, it is important to protect the wider ecosystem in each MPA to support the recovery of those few species and habitats that are explicitly listed as protected features. Many of the proposed management areas are too complex in shape because the boundaries have been drawn so close to protected features – this will both severely constrain the scope for ecosystem recovery and stymie the culture of compliance needed for successful MPAs.I therefore support the proposals for site-wide prohibition of bottom-towed, mobile fishing gear from the following MPAs:Treshnish Isles SAC (option 1)
Loch Creran ncMPA/SAC (option 2)
Luce Bay SAC (option 1)
East Mingulay SAC (option 2)
Loch Laxford SAC (option 1 – only option)
St. Kilda SAC (option 1 – only option)
Noss Head ncMPA (option 1 – only option)
Wyre and Rousay ncMPA (option 1 – only option)
Sanday SAC (option 1 – only option)None of the proposed management approaches in the five sites below will adequately support the conservation and recovery of the species and habitats to be protected, and so I think there should instead be a site-wide prohibition of bottom-towed, mobile fishing gear in these MPAs:
Loch Sween ncMPA
South Arran ncMPA
Upper Loch Fyne and Loch Goil ncMPA
Lochs Duich, Long and Alsh SAC and ncMPANone of the proposed management approaches in the five sites below will adequately support the conservation and recovery of the species and habitats to be protected, and so I think there should be a greater reduction of bottom-towed, mobile fishing gear than any of the options presented for these MPAs:
Loch Sunart to the Sound of Jura ncMPA (including Loch Sunart ncMPA and Loch Sunart SAC)
Small Isles ncMPA
Wester Ross ncMPAI strongly support marine protected areas (MPAs) in Scottish seas. It’s an historic opportunity to help reverse the declining health of our marine environment and make a real change for coastal communities and Scotland as a whole. MPAs existing and new need proper protection to ensure responsible stewardship of our shared resources.Please Don’t Take the P out of MPAs.
Our #DontTakeTheP online action closed – but there are still important decisions being made that will determine whether Scotland has a network of well-managed Marine Protected Areas… or a patchwork of paper parks:
– more consultations on management yes – Marine Scotland are developing management for other MPAs in a series of separate consultations. Management for offshore nature conservation MPAs (and other inshore habitats) has yet to be developed.
– protecting our mobile species: the MPAs in Scotland have been set up largely to protect – and hopefully recover – our seabed habitats and low-mobility species. However, sites for amazing marine animals such as minke whales, basking sharks and Risso’s dolphins – which move about in our seas – have yet to be put in place. MPAs for these species have been delayed, as the Scottish Government gathers more scientific evidence, but we are expecting proposals to be consulted on this summer.
– resourcing and monitoring: we will only know if the management of our new MPAs is working if we are adequately monitoring their ecosystem health . This costs time and money – and will require a strategic approach by Scottish Government to enable its nature conservation advisors Scottish Natural Heritage and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee to fully implement a well-funded monitoring programme. We firmly hope that fishermen – some potentially impacted by fisheries management – could be involved in monitoring programmes for our MPAs. Furthermore, although we hope there will be a culture of compliance with the fisheries regulations in MPAs, we recognise that infringements may happen and that resources will be needed to back up the role of Marine Scotland Compliance.
It is vital that Marine Protected Areas are used as a tool to deliver real change in our marine environment, so we will continue our campaign and putting a clear case to our representatives that people want to see real change in the health of our seas in Scotland. The status quo is not an option. In the meantime, if you would like to be kept informed about the progress, you can sign-up for updates.
For anyone reading this who added their voice – we very much hope that we can collectively make a difference on this issue.