COAST MPA proposal supported

coastFrom the COAST website.

With the vast majority of responses to the MPA consultation in favour of marine protected areas it is now time for the Scottish Government to act.

The analysis of over 1300 responses sent via COAST reveals over 99% support the Arran MPA and want bottom trawling and scallop dredging excluded entirely from the area.

Consultations are not referenda or elections but they are part of the democratic process and the weight of public opinion behind MPAs must be acknowledged. Very few respondents are against MPAs but those that are (mostly members of the self-styled MPA coalition) seem to think they have a veto on marine policy (This is known as regulatory capture).

Now is the hour for Richard Lochhead (Cab. Sec.) to show real leadership. It is not good enough to sit on the fence until the independence referendum is over. Scotland’s people deserve healthy and productive seas which genuinely support all coastal communities.

COAST’s legal advice is that the Cab-Sec needs to balance the interests of all marine stakeholders within his remit of encouraging sustainable development. These include tourism, recreational sea angling & both the mobile & static fishing sectors.

For too long his department has been biased in favour of bottom dredging & trawling. The scientific consensus is that these methods are destructive & unsustainable. The current process is just irrational.  There seems to be no proper basis for all the architecture of government supporting the use of the public fishery in this way. Surely the Cab-Sec will see sense and implement lasting reforms, without going through the expense and trauma of a thorough analysis of the mismanagement of the Clyde fishery in the courts.

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