The MPA network
By protecting rare, representative and productive species and habitats on the basis of sound science, we can keep on enjoying the rich diversity of life in the waters around us and the benefits they bring.
Scotland’s seas are extraordinary, and we are only just starting to get to know what is in them and how much we rely on them. Our seas provide nurseries and feeding grounds for species that are critical to the marine ecosystem, including fish species that we rely 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 we take 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.
We have 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 we are looking to protect in the MPA network) that we believe require more protection than that offered by existing protected areas.