MPA Update

This post summarises progress to develop the MPA network in Scottish Waters.

MPA network for biodiversity and geodiversity

  1. MPA proposals have been identified to contribute to a network that delivers national and international commitments. Proposals have been identified using scientific data, with discussions at five stakeholder workshops over the last 18 months. They were reported to Parliament in December 2012.
  2. Before the report to Parliament SNH and JNCC delivered the scientific advice on nature conservation MPAs to Scottish Ministers. This advice package, Advice to the Scottish Government on the Selection of Nature Conservation Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) for the Development of the Scottish MPA Network.. is available on line.
  3. Thirty three Nature Conservation MPA proposals have now also been developed and a further 4 MPA search locations remain to be fully assessed. these proposals cover 12% of the area of Scotland’s seas.
  4. The MPA network will include existing protected areas (see diagram) such as Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) under EU Wild Birds and Habitats Directives. Work is ongoing to complete SAC and SPAs designations.
  5. Marine Scotland has circulated the first Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) Newsletter to ensure that stakeholders remained informed about progress. Future issues will feature updates on the process.
  6. A draft management handbook has been discussed with stakeholders and is now being revised. An interactive web page, to enhance understanding of the interactions between activities and features, is in an advanced stage. This will be live before the consultation.

Sustainability Appraisal

  1. A Sustainability Appraisal, comprising a strategic environmental assessment (SEA) and a socio-economic assessment, is being undertaken and the report, will accompany the public consultation in Summer 2013.
  2. A project advisory group, comprising stakeholder representatives, is being convened for this work. Participating in this group will allow members to provide insight, evidence and advice to the consultants and analysts gathering the evidence to inform the SEA and the socio-economic assessment. Invitations to join the project advisory group will be issued shortly.
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Demonstration and Research MPAs

  1. Two Demonstration and Research MPAs have been received and are currently being assessed for inclusion in the network.

Historic MPAs

  1. The Scottish Government’s December 2012 report to the Scottish Parliament included Historic Scotland’s recommendations on the 1st tranche of Historic MPA designations, which will give Historic MPA status to seven of Scotland’s eight historic wrecks currently designated under section 1 of the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973 – with the eighth (Blessing of Burntisland, Firth of Forth) likely not to progress. In addition, one recently discovered wreck (not previously designated) is being urgently designated as a Historic MPA.
  2. Preparation of documentation on these proposals is nearing completion and we anticipate an announcement on consultation shortly with a view to the new designations being in place by late summer 2013.
  3. Once transitions are complete, Section 1 of the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973 will be repealed in Scotland.

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