Conservation objectives describe the current and desired ecological or geological state (or quality) of each proposed protected feature. The objectives are either to 'conserve' or 'recover' a feature. Where evidence exists that the feature is in an unfavourable condition within the site, the objective will be to 'recover', otherwise it will be to 'conserve'.
SNH has produced a Conservation and Management Advice document for each site to outline the conservation objectives and their management advice. They have used a risk-based approach by considering each of the protected features, the conservation objectives, and the activities which could affect their condition.
The responsibility for site management generally sits with Public Authorities who regulate activities. The Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 places duties on Public Authorities in relation to their own functions and any decisions they make to allow regulated activities to take place. In some cases specific measures may be required. The Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 provides the power to Scottish Ministers to implement Marine Conservation Orders, where necessary, to further site conservation objectives. Any such Order is subject to both public consultation and Parliamentary Processes. This consultation does not include the implementation of any Marine Conservation Orders.
Every six years there is a requirement for Scottish Ministers to report on the extent to which, in their opinion, the conservation objectives have been achieved. The last of these reports was published in 2018. Appropriate monitoring is important for the report, which informs the opinion of Scottish Ministers. The monitoring of the MPA network is covered in the Scottish MPA Monitoring Strategy which sets out how monitoring of the network should be prioritised and carried out. The results of monitoring are also used to inform future decisions on management of MPAs.