The project to improve protection given to PMFs outside the MPA network was initiated in May 2017. This followed an incident in Loch Carron in April 2017 when a flame shell bed was damaged by scallop dredging activity, and resulted in the designation of the Loch Carron MPA. The Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change, and Land Reform also requested that necessary steps were taken to ensure that Priority Marine Features (PMFs) were being protected in accordance with the National Marine Plan.
The purpose of the consultation is to seek views on the scope of the project to improve protection given to PMFs outside the MPA network. It seeks views on the following:
• The Scoping Report, as required under the Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005, which sets the scope for the Strategic Environmental Assessment
• The methodology to be used in the Socio-economic Assessment
• The 11 Priority Marine Feature advice documents produced by Scottish Natural Heritage
• Data and evidence sources to be used in the assessment
• A management approach that will be assessed
• Potential reasonable alternative management approaches.
This consultation is not asking whether measures should be implemented. Another consultation will follow where measures will be proposed and it will be accompanied by a Sustainability Appraisal.