MPA Common Questions
The Scottish Government has EU commitments to create an ecologically coherent network of Marine Protected Areas (MPA’s) in the seas around Scotland.
WHAT IS AN MPA?
MPAs are tools used to manage the marine environment. Put simply, an MPA is an area of the marine environment that is protected against deterioration or degradation of certain species, fauna or habitat. Many MPA’s around the world have already been in place for decades meaning the benefits are well understood.
Scotland will create three types of MPA:
1. Nature Conservation: to protect species, habitats and natural features of conservational importance.
2. Demonstration & Research: can be used to increase socio-economic benefits in the surrounding area through the development of marine tourism or recreation.
3. Historic MPA’’s: To protect Scotland’s most important marine historic assets and heritage.
HOW MANY WILL THERE AND WHAT STAGE ARE THEY AT?
As of Feb 2013 – 33 Nature Conservation MPA proposals have now been developed representing 12% of the area of Scotland’s seas and the Site proposal documents are now being produced that will be accompanied by Impact Assessments. The first of these are expected to go for public consultation in 2013. The target date for implementation is 2016.
HOW DOES IT ALL WORK ?
WHY DOES SSACN SUPPORT MPA’s ?
As an angling conservation group SSACN naturally support MPA’s as a means of protecting and enhancing the marine environment, but not at any price. We are assured by the government that there is no intention to restrict angling in the Nature Conservation MPA’s We believe a well-managed, MPA’s will help improve the health of our seas, not merely halt the historic decline but secure the future environmental, economic and social prosperity of Scotland.
ARE MPA’S GOING TO BE A “NO GO” FOR FISHING AND OTHER ACTIVITIES ?
No. The purpose of Nature Conservation MPAs is to protect the wildlife, habitats, geology and undersea landforms for which they are designated. If the features of a Nature Conservation MPA are considered vulnerable to a particular activity then management measures may need to be considered. It is not Scottish policy to restrict activities except when the conservation objectives for a particular MPA would not be achieved unless those restrictions were put in place.
WHY HAS SSACN PROPOSED MPA’s ?
SSACN has proposed a series of four Nature Conservation MPA’s for the Argyll region. Skate are now fully protected through a Statutory Instrument and suitable MPA’s will help protect their habitats, facilitate their regeneration and ensure the future of sea angling in the region, which is worth more than £20 million per year to coastal communities.”
All of SSACN’s third party MPA proposals are available in our Reading Room.
A Report on Progress on the Development of a Marine Protected Area (MPA) Network for Scotland has been laid in the Scottish Parliament.