Marine environment

MPA monitoring strategy

Marine Scotland, in partnership with Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), has developed a Scottish Marine Protected Area (MPA) monitoring strategy. This will ensure the necessary information is collected from the Scottish MPA network to underpin assessment and reporting obligations.

The Strategy is supported by a series of annexes which provide more detail on monitoring methods, collaborative working, current monitoring and a two year forward look for MPA monitoring. Read the strategy and annexes.

The Strategy is a working document which will be reviewed on a regular basis in collaboration with partner organisations.

EMFF Project: engaging the fishing industry in marine environmental survey and monitoring

The EMFF project, which runs until June 2020, aims to engage the fishing industry in the surveying and monitoring of seabed habitats and Priority Marine Features (PMFs) located within the Scottish Marine Protected Areas (MPA) network and adjacent waters. Please see the project topic sheet for more information.

The project aims to improve our understanding of marine habitats while working in partnership with the Scottish fishing industry.

The project has the following objectives:

  • develop and test robust underwater video cameras for seabed surveying and monitoring from fishing vessels
  • undertake marine survey and monitoring work in partnership with fishers, to assess the condition of selected habitats and species and assess the effectiveness of new fisheries management measures
  • analyse survey data to meet reporting and assessment obligations in relation to the protection and restoration of marine biodiversity
  • increase stakeholder participation and engagement through on-going dialogue and communication
  • ensure effective dissemination of the project's outputs through outreach and knowledge exchange

These objectives will be delivered through several key work packages encompassing: marine surveys, monitoring equipment design and development, data standards and management, and outreach and knowledge exchange.

Read the survey reports and newsletters to get information on previous and ongoing EMFF work. 

Previous surveys

2018: Surveys were carried out in various locations on the west coast of Scotland, including:

  • Use of underwater video cameras to complete surveys of seabed habitats in the east of Skye at the Inner Sound and Loch Alsh, Wester Ross, the Small Isles, and South Arran.
  • Deployment of fish traps and baited cameras (to document juvenile fish abundance) in South Arran and Loch Ewe.
  • Deployment of acoustic monitoring devices and acoustic tags on common skate to monitor the presence and movement of the species in Loch Sunart to the Sound of Jura.

2017: This was the first year of the project so a smaller number of surveys were completed but these included:

  • Deployment of fish traps and baited camera moorings in South Arran and the Small Isles
  • Deployment of acoustic monitoring devices to monitor the presence of dolphins and porpoise in regions off the east of Lewis, south of Skye and northwest Argyll.

Project partners

The project is a collaboration between Marine Scotland (MS),  Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and the fishing industry who will each play their part in ensuring the successful delivery of the project. The project is being managed by Seascope Fisheries Research Ltd, with Crangon Ltd and Marine Ecological Consulting providing monitoring survey expertise and stakeholder engagement support respectively.

Are you a fishing vessel owner who wants to charter for the monitoring work?

If you are the owner of a fishing vessel and are interested in participating in the survey programme, then please read the Guidance document on how to register your interest on the Public Contracts Scotland website

Please note: When registering on the PCS website, against your 'Organisation Details', state the name of your vessel. This should start with the prefix 'FV', followed by the vessel name. If you have any queries about this registration process, or have no access to internet, please contact Marine Scotland on 0131 244 2500.

If you have any questions in relation to the Strategy or supporting annexes, please send them to the Marine Conservation mailbox:

or to

Marine Conservation Team – Marine Planning and Policy
Area 1A (South)
Victoria Quay

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