Consultation on the Fair Isle Demonstration and Research MPA Proposal

The first Demonstration and Research MPA proposal has been developed by the Fair Isle Marine Environment and Tourism Initiative (FIMETI) on behalf of all residents of Fair Isle for Fair Isle.

Overview of Fair Isle Demonstration and Research Marine Protected Area Proposal

The overall aim of the Demonstration and Research Marine Protected Area proposal is to demonstrate, through research and dissemination, the effectiveness of a community-led partnership approach in achieving a programme of sustainable measures. This approach will help ensure that the marine environment is in a condition that benefits all stakeholders as fully as possible.

To achieve this aim FIMETI (2015), in conjunction with stakeholders, has identified two main objectives for the D&R MPA:

  • To investigate the factors affecting seabird populations on Fair Isle, particularly climate change impacts and direct human influences, by:

    • Studying seabird productivity and prey availability (which will also help expand knowledge on inshore fish and invertebrate populations).
    • Exploring the potential for voluntary measures through local management measures in partnership with all stakeholders.
  • To demonstrate the socio-economic benefits of the marine environment and the additional benefits that MPA designation can bring to the community.

In addition FIMETI suggest that the project has wider 'spin-off' benefits for Scotland more generally, by way of:

  • Exploring a model for collaborative management (co-management) of the marine environment and demonstrating how coastal communities can involve themselves in local management;
  • Demonstrating that investing funding and resources into co-managed sites is a sound investment for government departments;
  • MPAs are widely viewed as being in place for nature conservation but they can also contribute to the improved management of other interests. Pioneering the D&R model could demonstrate to other interest groups a positive process within which gains are to be made from the establishment of MPAs rather than the usual perception of loss;
  • The habitats around Fair Isle are representative of a large number of Northern Isles and coastal Scotland areas so biological results here are likely to be more widely applicable; and
  • Fair Isle being used as a potential reference site for invasive non-native species monitoring as well as recording species whose distribution may be changing due to climate change.

Management Measures

FIMETI states that the mechanisms by which possible management measures might be implemented will be inclusive and promote input from all stakeholders. The proposed management measures have therefore not yet been determined and will be agreed on a study by study basis using a governance framework.

The FIMETI proposal provides a framework within which management measures can be identified and agreed prior to implementation, as agreed with wider interests.


FIMETI (2015) has proposed a governance framework which is designed to assure adequate accountability to stakeholders and to encourage performance improvement while meeting obligations and legislative requirements. The governance framework sets out the following:

  • The mechanisms by which possible management measures might be implemented;
  • The structure of governance which the D & R MPA could assume;
  • The composition of the suggested executive level including information on the Steering Committee (membership and terms of reference);
  • The composition of the suggested management level; and
  • The composition of the suggested implementation level.

The governance structure provides the following levels:

  • Executive Level: Steering Committee
  • Project Management Level: Project Officer Support Team
  • Implementation Level: Project Officer (& any technical inputs)


Riddiford & Riddiford (2011) identifies a range of existing long-term monitoring programmes, particularly relating to seabird numbers and breeding success that would inform the assessment of future changes within the D&R MPA. FIMETI (2015) suggested an Implementation Plan with a four phased approach to the research programme through:

  • Developing consensus on study objectives through initiation and gap analysis;
  • Demonstration and trialling the identified actions;
  • Evaluation of the project deliverables against the objectives; and
  • Enhancement and maintenance of the future programme.


Riddiford & Riddiford (2011) highlight the dissemination of existing data collected around Fair Isle and suggests this would serve as a platform for dissemination of monitoring data and outputs. Also dissemination could be achieved through various technological and traditional media outlets, such as community and educational involvement, public participation and research publications.

We invite views on the proposal, in relation to Question 1 of the consultation.

The full details of the proposal can be found in the submission from FIMETI:
Fair Isle Proposed Demonstration and Research MPA 2015 [5]

Figure 1 - Map of Fair Isle Demonstration and Research Proposal

Figure 1 - Map of Fair Isle Demonstration and Research Proposal


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