2014 Consultation on the management of inshore Special Areas of Conservation and Marine Protected Areas - Consultation analysis report

2014 Consultation on the management of inshore Special Areas of Conservation and Marine Protected Areas - Consultation analysis report. Summary of the responses received relating to each site.

4. Introduction

4.1. The Consultation

4.1.1. The 2014 Consultation on the Management of Inshore Special Areas of Conservation and Marine Protected Areas contained 51 questions, covering nine Special Areas of Conservation ( SACs) and 11 Marine Protected Areas ( MPAs) in Scottish Territorial Waters. These asked for views on proposed management approaches for each MPA or SAC and on the economic, social, and environmental assessments of the impact of these.

4.1.2. The proposed management approaches contained in the consultation were designed to meet the statutory requirements to protect each of the sites. These approaches were accompanied by ecological, economic, and intensity assessment information which informed the design of the approaches.

4.1.3. Where the Consultation document (along with its associated Approaches and Maps documents) outlined more than one potential approach, respondents were also asked for their views on the preferred approach. In some MPAs/ SACs respondents were also asked about specific protected features.

4.1.4. The consultation questions are listed in Appendix 1.

4.1.5. The consultation ran from 11th November 2014 to 2nd February 2015.

4.1.6. Responses to this consultation have informed the proposed management measures for each MPA or SAC.

4.2. Background

4.2.1. In July 2014, Scottish Ministers designated 30 MPAs; 17 were in Scottish Territorial Waters (inshore) and 13 in offshore waters. The consultation contained management proposals for 11 of the inshore MPAs. These were prioritised according to the presence of the most sensitive seabed habitats.

4.2.2. Nature conservation MPAs are designed to conserve biodiversity (species and habitats) and geodiversity (the marine landscape and the processes that form these landscapes); these features have been identified for protection either because they are rare, threatened or declining, representative or because our waters hold a significant number of the overall population or total area of the habitat.

4.2.3. SACs are protected sites designated under the EC Habitats Directive for habitats and species that are considered most in need of conservation at a European level (excluding birds which are protected by the EU Wild Birds Directive). Examples of features covered by the EU Habitats Directive include reefs, subtidal sandbanks, and bottlenose dolphin.

4.2.4. Consideration of how the EU Habitats Directive is implemented in the marine environment in Scotland concluded that provisions regarding the assessment of plans and projects should also apply to fishing. A subsequent review of existing arrangements resulted in management proposals for nine SACs, mainly for locations with the most sensitive habitats.

4.3. Responses

4.3.1. Submissions were received from 4,974 respondents. This included 52 standard responses, 144 single area responses (where respondents commented mainly on one MPA or SAC) and 4,778 non-standard responses.

4.3.2. Most of the single area responses related to: Luce Bay; South Arran; and the Small Isles and /or Wester Ross.

4.3.3. Non-standard responses are those where individuals submitted campaign text supplied by a central organisation or group, in this case Scottish Environment LINK and Sunnyside Ocean Defenders. These responses are detailed in Chapter 5 of this report.

4.4. Respondent Profile

4.4.1. For analysis purposes, responses from organisations were assigned to sub-groups. This enabled analysis of whether differences, or commonalities, appeared across the various different types of organisations that responded. Table 4.1 shows the numbers of standard and single area responses in each group.

Table 4 . 1: Respondent groups (standard and single area responses)

Standard Responses

Single Area Responses

Total Responses

Total individuals





Environment / Conservation




Inshore Fisheries Group ( IFG)




Industry / Transport




Mobile fishing




Local authority




Local group




Recreation / Tourism




Static fishing








Total organisations




Total Responses




4.4.2. As shown in the table above, 63 organisations responded, either to the whole consultation (41) or in respect of a single area (22). In addition, 133 individuals responded (11 to the whole consultation and 122 in respect of a single area).

4.4.3. A list of all those organisations who submitted a standard response to the consultation is included in Appendix 2.

4.5. Analysis and Reporting

4.5.1. Responses to the yes /no questions were quantified and many results are presented in table format. Where a respondent did not use the consultation questionnaire but gave, within their comments, a clear indication of their support or otherwise for one of the approaches then this information was used to populate the relevant tick boxes.

4.5.2. Comments given at each open question were examined and key themes, similar issues raised or comments made in a number of responses, were identified. In addition, we looked for sub-themes such as reasons for opinions, specific examples or explanations, alternative suggestions or other related comments.

4.5.3. The key themes were looked at in relation to individuals and organisation groupings to ascertain whether any particular theme was specific to one particular group, or whether it appeared in responses across groups.

4.5.4. When looking at sub-group differences, it must be also borne in mind that where a specific opinion has been identified in relation to a particular group or groups, this does not indicate that other groups agree or disagree with this opinion, but rather that they have simply not commented on that particular point.

4.5.5. It should also be borne in mind that in the analysis of responses to a consultation, those in favour of a proposal generally give shorter answers than those opposed. This was found to be the case at many of the questions in this consultation and is reflected in the reporting.

4.5.6. This exercise was a consultation and not a survey. While the consultation gave all those who wished to comment an opportunity to do so, given the self-selecting nature of this type of exercise, any figures quoted here cannot be extrapolated to a wider population.

4.5.7. The following chapters document the substance of the analysis and present the main issues and views expressed in responses. These chapters follow the ordering of questions in the consultation document, followed by an analysis of other comments received.

4.5.8. It should be noted that while a large number overall responded to the consultation, there were many single area responses where respondents commented on only one MPA or SAC. Usually ones that were close to their home or of interest to them as well as a substantial number of non-standard (campaign) responses. This means that at the questions on many of the individual sites there are fairly small numbers responding.

4.5.9. Anonymised verbatim comments are used throughout the report to illustrate themes or to provide extra detail for some specific points.


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