Seabirds, whales and dolphins have been left out of new plans to protect marine species in Scotland, The Scotsman has learned.
A new network of protected areas at sea is to be created by the Scottish Government following a commitment made in the landmark Marine (Scotland) Act 2010.
However, RSPB Scotland and the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) are furious because they claim seabirds and cetaceans have been neglected in the process.
Although more than 30 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) have been proposed, none focus on whales and dolphins, and only one species of seabird is included – the black guillemot.
Rory Crawford, seabird policy officer at RSPB Scotland, said after spending a decade campaigning for the Marine (Scotland) Act, he was disappointed and angry.
Six MPAs were proposed by RSPB Scotland to protect seabirds, but all have been rejected.