I was delighted to announce the introduction of the Scottish Marine Bill into the Scottish Parliament. This is Scotland's first Marine Bill and provides legislation to enhance the management and stewardship of Scotland's seas.
Scotland's seas are home to over 40,000 marine species including 6,500 animal and plant species. Our seas have an estimated potential for renewable energy of 46.5 GW1 with the potential to make a critical contribution to fighting climate change.
The Bill if enacted will allow us to manage Scotland's seas for the benefit of all. The agreement with the UK Government on executive devolution of marine planning, conservation, licensing and enforcement from 12-200 nm will allow us to develop an integrated approach to managing all of Scotland's seas.
Marine Scotland, the marine management organisation for Scotland, came into effect on 1 April 2009 and will be the champion of Scotland's seas.
I would like to thank all the stakeholders who helped make this Bill
a reality and all the respondents to the consultation on Sustainable Seas For All who helped us reach important policy decisions.
I believe the Scottish Marine Bill, if approved by the Scottish Parliament, will ensure more sustainable management of the seas. This will deliver economic development alongside the protection of the marine environment, thus ensuring our seas will benefit future generations of Scots.
for Rural Affairs