Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) that are designated under the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 and the Marine & Coastal Access Act 2009 have a range of protective provisions.
Both Acts place duties on all Public Authorities and Regulators. They must ensure that their own functions, or consenting/licensing decisions, do not cause a significant risk to the conservation objectives of the MPAs being achieved.
It is also an offence to intentionally or recklessly kill, remove, damage, or destroy any protected feature of an MPA.
The management options papers set out the advice of SNH and JNCC regarding activities that take place in or near to MPAs. These conclude that for licensed activities, existing operations can continue as at present. However, any new or extended operation requiring consent will have to be assessed against the conservation objectives.
As fishing is licensed in a general spatial manner, the above approach does not fit that model. Therefore there will be a 2 year programme of development and implementation of management measures. This will ensure that fishing activity does not hinder the achievement of the conservation objectives.
A consultation on management measures for some Inshore Special Areas of Conservation(SAC) and MPAs is taking place from November 2014 to February 2015.