This document sets out the rationale for taking forward these proposals for new management measures for protected areas. All of the measures are for protected areas within Scottish Territorial Waters where Scottish Ministers have exclusive competence to manage fisheries.
Special Areas of Conservation ( SACs) are designated under the EU Habitats Directive. Many of the SACs in Scottish Territorial Waters were designated in 2005. A review of how the EU Habitats Directive is implemented in the marine environment in Scotland has taken place. This has concluded that the provisions regarding the assessment of plans and projects should also apply to fishing.
This led to the review of existing management arrangements. This review has resulted in management proposals for 9 SACs in this consultation, mainly for locations with the most sensitive habitats.
Nature Conservation Marine Protected Areas ( MPAs) are designated under the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 in Scottish Territorial Waters. In July 2014 Scottish Ministers designated 30 MPAs, of which 17 were in Scottish Territorial Waters. There are proposals for 11 of these MPAs in this consultation. These have been prioritised according to the presence of the most sensitive seabed habitats.
For each site there may be one or more approaches to management. The consultation is seeking views on your preferred approach. Each approach is designed to meet the statutory requirements to protect the site in question. They are accompanied by ecological, economic, and intensity assessment information which informed the design of the approaches. This is detailed in the approaches to management document. The consultation also seeks to confirm the accuracy of the estimates made, and the design of the approaches. In some cases there may be additional questions particularly in respect of protected features which have a conservation objective to recover the habitat.
Proposals for measures for up to a further 13 SACs are likely to be consulted on next year, along with any measures needed for other MPAs.
At present there are no plans for statutory measures for Special Protection Areas classified under the EU Wild Birds Directive.
In offshore waters Marine Scotland is also developing proposals for management of SACs and MPAs. These fisheries measures will be delivered via the Common Fisheries Policy.