Scottish Government
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Planning Scotland’s seas

Marine consultation launched.

Sustainable economic growth that is sensitive to the environment is at the centre of draft management plans that will form the future National Marine Plan.

A joint marine consultation has been launched yesterday that will help decide how Scotland’s seas are managed in the future.

The joint consultation includes:

  • Scotland’s first National Marine Plan which will provide a single framework to manage all activity in Scottish waters. This will provide clarity to developers and decision makers on Scotland’s priorities for sustainable use of the sea
  • Proposals for a network of new Nature Conservation Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) which if designated would increase protection for Scotland’s iconic marine species and habitats
  • Draft sectorial marine plans which will guide development of a sustainable and successful offshore renewable energy industry in Scotland

Throughout the 16-week consultation process Marine Scotland along with SNH and Joint Nature Conversation Committee (JNCC) will be hosting a series of events and workshops throughout Scotland.

Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said:

“Scotland’s seas are fundamental to our way of life. They are a vast and vital natural resource which provide energy, food and recreation. We must protect and enhance our marine environment so that it remains a prized asset for future generations. This government has worked hard to introduce marine planning and the National Marine Plan will help achieve the balance needed for sustainable growth.

“Scotland’s people should manage Scotland’s resources. The National Marine Plan which sets out policies and priorities for both the marine environment and economic development out to 200 nautical miles is an essential element of that management.

“I am keen that everyone takes this opportunity to make an input into the National Marine plan. The plan is a key element of the government’s strategy to deliver sustainable economic growth that benefits all of Scotland and it is vital that both stakeholders and local people take this opportunity to lets us know what they think.”

Calum Duncan, Convenor of Scottish Environment LINK’s marine taskforce said:

“Our seas are no longer out of sight, out of mind. These proposals represent a historic opportunity for us to manage the marine environment in a new way that benefits both our amazing sealife and our communities that rely upon it. I would urge anybody who lives near to, works in, visits or enjoys our seas to show their support for MPAs.

“I would also urge all those involved closely in this process to remain ambitious in the months ahead to ensure we collectively keep Scotland on track toward becoming a world-leading example of good marine stewardship."

Susan Davies, Director of policy and advice for Scottish Natural Heritage said:

“We welcome the start of this consultation. Our seas are biologically rich, special and an important economic resource. The right balance between interests such as renewables, fishing and recreation and the management of these special nature qualities can be achieved. This consultation is an important opportunity for people to have their say on how Scotland’s seas should be managed in the future.”

Dr John Goold, Marine Director for JNCC said:

“These possible MPAs have been selected to support improving the health and spectacular diversity of Scotland’s seas. We’re enormously appreciative of the input we’ve had from others with an interest in Scotland’s seas in the work leading up to this point and look forward to the opportunities for further discussion that the consultation provides.”

Bertie Armstrong, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation said:

“Our seas provide a valuable and sustainable food resource and their well-being is close to the hearts of Scotland’s hardworking fishermen.

"The three large consultations published together: The Draft National Marine Plan; The Marine Protected Area Network, and Sectoral Marine Plans for Renewable Energy all represent change and are therefore of the utmost importance to the already established, legitimate users of our seaspace, such as fishing. This presents a giant amount of work in a very short and challenging time-scale.

“The consultations must be the first part of the development of a sensible balance between marine conservation, energy production and the essential requirement to secure and protect a viable fishing industry that will ensure the future of our coastal communities and the continuing provision of a required and sustainable source of food.”

Notes to editors

The consultation begins today and will run for 16 weeks until 13 November 2013. Consultation documents and details about our public consultation events are available on the SG website -

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