Members of Scottish Environment LINK’s marine taskforce (LINK) welcome the scientifically robust and ecologically sound management measures for inshore Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) proposed by the Scottish Government. These measures – due to be laid in Parliament as Marine Conservation Orders (MCOs) and Fisheries Orders (FOs) – will make a considerable contribution to the protection and recovery of Scotland’s most naturally diverse and important areas of sea. LINK members:
- recommend these statutory measures – as a bare minimum – are introduced to help deliver the Marine (Scotland) Act’s duty to protect, and where appropriate enhance, the health of Scotland’s seas;
- recommend that management measures for Luce Bay and Sands SAC, Loch Sween MPA and Upper Loch Fyne and Loch Goil MPA are amended to ensure those sites meet their conservation objectives;
- emphasise the fact that well managed MPAs can deliver socio-economic benefits that outweigh the short-term financial impacts. These benefits have so far been inadequately accounted for in socio-economic impact assessments;
- urge that any significant socio-economic impacts of the measures are addressed by European Marine Fisheries Fund (or equivalent) support, but not by diluting the urgently-needed protection measures.