Scottish MPA Project

The Scottish MPA project is a joint initiative between Marine Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage, Historic Scotland and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee.

Since 2011, SSACN members have been attending MPA stakeholder workshops held by Marine Scotland, SNH and JNCC.

This is now a summary page for the SSACN’ s MPA Project as JNCC and SNH will be submitting advice to Marine Scotland on Nature Conservation MPA proposals in Scotland’s seas in November 2012.

Until then work will continue to refine the current suite of recommended potential areas for MPAs using the best available evidence after the developing shape of the MPA network in Scotland’s seas was presented to sea-users and interest groups at the most recent workshop in Edinburgh, and discussions continued on how management of potential Nature Conservation MPAs should be determined. The workshop also provided an opportunity to seek feedback on the format of documents that will support formal consultation on Nature Conservation MPA proposals.

Background ::

The aim of this project is to carry out research around Scotland and ultimately provide advice to the Scottish Government on the selection of MPAs around Scotland.

The Scottish Government has international commitments to create an ecologically coherent network of MPAs in the seas around Scotland: these come from commitments such as the OSPAR Convention, the World Summit on Sustainable Development and Natura 2000. All EU member states have to establish a network of terrestrial and marine protected areas.

A number of  workshops were performed to gather views from a broad cross section of sectors – including commercial fishing, renewable energy, oil and gas, and conservation bodies.

As part of the Scottish MPA project third parties, from an individual person to an organisation or industry sector, were invited to submit proposals for MPAs for either Nature Conservation MPA or Demonstration & Research MPAs.

Once submitted a proposal is assessed by Marine Scotland/SNH/JNCC or any other relevant body. A proposal is then either discarded (if it is deemed unsuitable for any reason) or endorsed and taken forward to the next stage of the MPA process.

SSACN have made Nature Conservation MPA proposals in Argyll from the Sound of Jura to Loch Sunart and a Demonstration & Research MPA proposal for Luce Bay in Dumfries and Galloway.

These proposals will now be assessed by Marine Scotland for their suitability and how well the meet the criteria laid out in the selection guidelines.

All of SSACN’s third party MPA proposals are available in our reading room.

Before designation, all MPAs –including third party proposals and sites selected by Marine Scotland – will be subject to a public consultation: this means that before any designation is ever put in place details regarding the sites and the reasons for considering them as possible MPAs must be made public and feedback taken from any stakeholders.

See this Scottish Government web page for an update on MPA progress