Scottish MPAs lack inclusion

| March 24, 2010

This just in from - COAST - (Community Of Arran Seabed Trust)

The Marine (Scotland) Act recently received Royal Assent. Greeted with general enthusiasm and optimism by the national press, a few stories failed to hit the headlines – namely that Scotland lags far behind its southern neighbors…

The Marine (Scotland) Act is in part designed to fulfill Scotland’s legal obligation to establish coherent network of MPAs by 2012. COAST have been asking Marine Scotland civil servants and our politicians for over five years just how that coherent network of MPAs is going to be implemented in such a short time scale.

COAST have stated on many occasions that the ill-fated SSMEI projects have wasted three valuable years. We look down south to the Finding Sanctuary project set up in 2005 which trialed bringing all stakeholders together.

In our opinion Finding Sanctuary and all the other projects now rolled out around England encourage everyone with an interest to get involved. Could it be that there is political will in England to involve all stakeholders whereas in Scotland there is a lack of political will to allow coastal communities a legitimate say in the management of the sea?

Last week the new IFCAs Inshore Fisheries and  Conservation Authorities in England & Wales advertised for Committee members. In Scotland both the SSMEI and, even worse, the controversial  IFGs (Inshore Fisheries Groups) remain a closed shop to new committee members, instead representing largely the interests of the fishing associations.

The Scottish government seems to struggle with its understanding of just who the sea belongs to and the Scottish people who legally own the resource will one day bite the government where it hurts. COAST have warned the Government continually, but in our opinion it continues to ignore the majority of legitimate stakeholders.

Category: Other Organisations

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