Can Marine Scotland protect the MPAs ?

mpa maprThe designation of the marine protected areas (MPAs) last month means a fifth of Scottish waters may be guarded against harmful activities.

However, can Marine Scotland really ensure their long term viability as there is a big difference between the resources put into fisheries and conservation management in England and in Scotland ?

If they are to repay the (unpaid) efforts of SSACN and other NGO’s into identifying the right areas for MPAs in Scotland there is a need for a step-change in the resourcing of fisheries and environmental protection in Scottish waters and a total change in their attitude to recreational interests rather than focussing on the commercial fishing sector.

Marine Scotland who constantly claim Scotland has 60 per cent of UK waters has three surveillance vessels and two aircraft to patrol an area six times the size of its landmass; south of the Border there are ten Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities (IFCAs) with 32 dedicated boats at their disposal to cover seas up to six nautical miles from the coastline. 

Note: Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities not just Inshore Fishing Groups.

Whereas compliance is well enforced south of the border, despite numerous illegal commercial activities such as electro-fishing over the last six years Marine Scotland Compliance has not yet attempted even one prosecution.!

According to a recent Scottish Government spokeswoman: “Enforcement is not the only route to achieving compliance – a successful and well managed MPA network requires the cooperation and understanding of marine ­users. We are continuing to work with fishermen and other marine users.”

No doubt they see the total decline of the Clyde as a successful implementation and management of that policy.

Category: Scottish Government News

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