Formulation of the approaches to management
The formulation of the possible approaches began with the statutory nature conservation advice from Scottish Natural Heritage. This provided advice on a habitat or species basis for each type of activity. In the case of SACs this was fisheries activities only. For MPAs the management options papers provide advice for all types of marine activity.
This advice was provided in 3 broad options for any given activity. These were;
1. That pressure should be removed or avoided;
2. That pressure should be reduced or limited;
3. That no additional management was required.
The main priority was to design measures for the protected features with remove / avoid pressure conservation advice. For each of these features a buffer of at least double the water depth was applied. Margins for recovery features is generally greater and have been defined with reference to independent advice. Where there were multiple features with the same advice consideration was given to creating a single zone around them depending upon proximity.
Stakeholder data, information, and preferences have been incorporated where possible. These were expressed during the Planning Scotland's Seas consultation and the fisheries displacement study.
As all of the protected areas are unique in terms of the environment, and the types and intensity of activity, the approaches to management vary from site to site. For sites with multiple approaches there can be considerable variation leading to the same environmental outcomes.
For sites which also have features with reduce / limit pressure advice consideration was given to potential approaches which deliver all the management measures in one batch. Some site have possible approaches that would deliver all the statutory management in one go. However some of the multiple feature sites have possible approaches that deliver management for the highly sensitive features only.
Discussions with stakeholders
Marine Scotland hosted a series of regional workshops in October 2014. Representatives of community groups, the fishing industry, environmental NGOs, local authorities, and other interested parties attended. The purpose of these events was to validate the proposed management approaches. Most of those approaches are included in this consultation together with some amended ones, and some entirely new ones.