The least damaged/more natural workstream is one strand of work being undertaken by Scottish MPA project partners to identify an ecologically coherent MPA network. It aims to identify locations where there is little known activity and may therefore be in a relatively natural state. It is just one of the workstreams that will inform the first application of the selection guidelines.
This workshop aimed to provide an overview of work done so far to identify least damaged/more natural locations in Scotland's seas and present the data Marine Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and the Joint Nature Conservation Comittee (JNCC) had gathered. It also presented the known gaps in project partners' knowledge and the issues surrounding the analysis. Future work to refine the data, including incorporating development plans and activity data for fishing vessels less than 15m in length, was also highlighted.
The workshop discussions allowed participants to review the datasets being developed by the project partners and highlight any additional gaps or issues with the data presented.
Marine Scotland carried out a review of the least damaged/more natural locations following the workshop. Stakeholders with an interest in specific potential least damaged/more natural locations, regions or datasets (both socio-economic and ecological) were invited to comment in order to aid in the development of Marine Scotland's understanding of these locations. SNH and JNCC aim to complete the initial least damaged/more natural analysis by the end of July 2011. Any comments received now will not be incorporated in the first iteration of least damaged/more natural assessment, but instead will inform future iterations and the development of an MPA network. The biodiversity value of locations will be considered before applying the MPA selection guidelines