Scotland is at a crucial stage in the development of a strategic, progressive marine planning system for its seas and it is essential that management approaches and priorities are clearly defined and the required resources for achieving them are in place. Under the adoption of the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) in 2008, Scotland is committed to meeting its obligations of contributing to Good Environmental Status (GES), which is reinforced by the provision of the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010, in part through the development of ecosystem-based marine plans.
Our objectives for this paper include:
- To summarise LINK’s expectations for Regional Marine Plans in delivering the objectives of the National Marine Plan4, the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy, the Scottish Government’s Strategy for Marine Nature Conservation, and their contribution to achieving GES for the UK;
- To highlight the role of LINK throughout the plan development process;
- To offer support to marine planning practitioners, including reference to case studies; and
- To promote key principles that LINK considers fundamental to achieving our obligation to the MSFD (including specifically the ecosystem approach).