Based on the responses to this consultation, there is substantial public support for the designation of the West of Scotland deep sea marine reserve as an MPA. The majority of respondents to the consultation felt positively about the proposals and scientific evidence presented. Most also agreed with the findings of the Sustainability Appraisal and BRIA.
Issues and questions raised during the consultation are discussed in section 4 of this report. Most of these have been addressed or answered where possible. The majority of these questions related to how the site was selected and how it might be managed in the future, if designated.
The site was selected following a two stage selection process. To coincide with existing regulations prohibiting trawling below 800m, the Scottish Government to look at features within two areas of search. Based on the number and distinctness of the features within the two areas, the West of Scotland was chosen for progression.
Management of the site, if designated, will involve two elements. Fishing management requires further consideration of what measures might be necessary and further consultation on these measures. Activities other than fisheries will be subject to management as soon as the designation comes into force, if the site is designated. This will be through existing regulatory process where regulators and developers will need to consider JNCC's management advice for their activity. Developers may need to carry put additional evidence gathering prior to applying for consent and regulators may need to undertake additional assessment before making decisions.
Many of the consultation responses identified the environmental benefits designation of the site could provide, in addition to possible economic benefits in the form of ecosystem services, providing greater resources for industries such as fishing and tourism.
Although some responses asked for additional protected features to be included in the site, the site would provide protection for 14 species and habitats, including 10 on the OSPAR Threatened and / or Declining list.
As a result of the consultation, the eastern boundary of the site has been slightly amended to ensure that it follows the 800 metre depth contour as intended.