The MPA network
By protecting rare, representative and productive species and habitats on the basis of sound science, the rich diversity of life in the waters around Scotland and the benefits they bring can be enjoyed in the future.
Scotland’s seas are extraordinary and provide nurseries and feeding grounds for species that are critical to the marine ecosystem, including fish species that are relied upon for food. Kelp and seagrass forests and offshore reefs help reduce the effects of storms by acting as a physical buffer. Healthy seas also assist in protecting us from climate change. So it is important not just to protect rare, threatened, declining, or nationally representative species and habitats for their own sake, but also for these benefits that are taken for granted.
What is a Marine Protected Area (MPA) Network?
A Marine Protected Area network in Scotland’s Seas is designed to conserve a selection of marine biodiversity (species and habitats) and geodiversity (the variety of landforms and natural processes that underpin the marine landscapes), offering long-term support for the services our seas provide to society.
Marine Scotland has now identified Nature Conservation MPAs in Scotland to either protect a range of biodiversity or geodiversity features in their current state for the future, or to allow them to recover to the state in which they should be in order to remain healthy and productive.
Nature Conservation MPAs have been identified for features (the collective term for species, habitats and geology that is looking to be protected in the MPA network) that Marine Scotland believes require more protection than that offered by existing protected areas.