Marine Conservation

Key facts
  • Improved protection for nature conservation based on the 3 pillar approach - species conservation, site protection and wider seas measures.
  • New powers to select and manage Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) for the protection and enhancement of marine biodiversity and for the preservation of marine historic assets of national importance.
  • Powers to select marine sites to research into new and sustainable methods of using marine resources.
  • Sites will be designated using science, but social and economic factors will be considered in the management of the sites.
  • Provision for communities to recommend MPAs through their involvement in Marine Planning Partnerships.
  • A power in the Marine Bill for the national marine plan to include marine ecosystems objectives along with economic and social objectives.

MPAs will form part of a network of sites in the marine environment that will also include marine elements of the Natura network, Ramsar sites, and Sites of Specific Scientific Interest.

Frequently Asked Questions
Do you intend to meet international obligations ?
  • We will work in partnership with the UK Government and other Devolved Administrations to meet our international obligations.
Is there provision for 'No Take Zones' in the Bill?
  • MPAs will be protected and managed according to the needs of the site and its place in the greater marine ecosystem.
  • MPAs are not the same as the concept of 'no-take zones' and a range of management approaches are likely to be used in practice but powers will exist to restrict an activity if it threatens a feature for which the site is designated.
Will MPAs impose restrictions on any activities?
  • Restrictions on any activity will only be put in place where they are likely to affect the core feature or the purpose of the site.
Will MPAs and other Nature Conservation measures be properly enforced?
  • There are provisions in the Bill to ensure that our enforcement officers are fully empowered to enforce nature conservation legislation in the marine area.
  • Large fines will be available to courts for those found guilty of significantly damaging protected sites or breaking any restrictions put on the sites.
Will MPAs or the MPA network be properly monitored?
  • Scottish Ministers will be required to report to Parliament on MPAs and contribution to a MPA network. This will be done on a 6 yearly basis beginning in 2012.
Are there any species protection measures in the Marine Bill?
  • A review is being carried out of whether any new species need to be protected under existing wildlife legislation, which is considered fit for purpose.
  • Seals will benefit from significantly enhanced protection measures.
  • Species will also benefit from the establishment of MPAs and wider seas measures.