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Community Marine Workshop: buying into Marine Scotland’s Vision and strategy

Community Marine Workshop: buying into Marine Scotland’s Vision and Strategy

Organised by Flora and Fauna International, the recent Community Marine Workshop held on 7 and 8 May 2016  was very informative about all issues surrounding  MPAs and community involvement.

The Marine Scotland strategy  about MPAs was presented in detail:

Marine Scotland Vision: 

Clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse marine and coastal environment that meets the long term needs of people and nature.

Marine Scotland Strategy 

  • Site protection:
  • Species protection
  • Wider measures

The Scottish MPA network

  • 30 nature conservation MPAs protecting habitats and species such as maerl beds, coral gardens, and common skate.
  • 47 Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) to protected species and habitats such as bottle nose dolphin, coral reefs and seals.
  • 45 Special Protection Areas (SPAs) for colonies of seabirds such as puffins and kittiwakes.
  • 61 Sites of Specific Scientific Interest (SSSI) for the further protection of species from seabirds and seals to habitats from sea caves and rocky shores.
  • 194 seal haul-out sites, where seals are protected from harassment.
  • Five seal conservation areas to protect vulnerable local populations of common seals. These areas cover Moray Firth, Shetland, Orkney, Firth of Tay and the Western Isles.

20% of Scottish seas are now protected by MPAs.

See more in this presentation by Sebastian Howell from Marine Scotland: Sebastian Howell_MPAs

The event also featured inspiring community presentations about Fair Isle, South Skye and Little Loch Broom, as well as COAST, who charted the milestones of their journey to successfully establish an MPA for Arran.

Fair Isle Demonstration and Research MPA

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The community on Fair Isle has been actively campaigning for a Demonstration and Research MPA to be set up on the island which has witnessed a worrying decline in its sea-bird population during the last decades. The D&R MPA seeks to look into the causes of this decline, address it and research the socio-economic benefits of marine conservation for local communities.

Inge Thomson, the singer and performer from Fair Isle and her father Stewart showed the  film made on Fair Isle about the need for a D&R MPA and made an impassioned plea for people to support  their proposal.

To have your say, click on this link to the Scottish Government consultation which ends on 26 May.