Overview of Assessment Against Selection Criteria
Marine Scotland has published assessment guidelines for D&R MPA proposals (Marine Scotland, 2011). There are six criteria against which proposals are to be assessed:
- The aims and objectives proposed for the MPA are feasible;
- The proposed MPA is the best means of carrying out the proposed demonstration;
- Research proposed is scientifically sound;
- There is a good level of support from stakeholders;
- The proposed demonstration fits within the wider set of government priorities at the national level; and
- The proposed demonstration has a high value in terms of helping to improve our knowledge and understanding.
The Fair Isle proposal has a number of strengths in that it builds on an established research and demonstration base, and has strong support from the local community and the majority of wider stakeholders. The proposal has provided details on the proposed governance structure, monitoring arrangements and demonstration activities. While the proposal does not include specific management measures, there is a clear basis for identification and agreement on requirements for management measures prior to their implementation.
While the proposal could result in the collection of useful information on the relationship between seabirds, prey and climate change, given the low level of current pressure from commercial fishing it is unclear the extent to which local management measures might provide significant benefit to SPA birds. However, the designation would provide the potential to implement management measures more easily should the need arise. The proposed monitoring programmes and agreement of management measures to be trialled within the D&R MPA by the Steering Committee should ensure that the findings of such work are applicable where possible to other locations in Scotland.
The MPA selection criteria have for the main part been fulfilled. While no specific management measures have been identified, there is a clear process for specifying and agreeing management measures where the need is identified, and a means of involving those most likely to be impacted by them.
The proposal has unanimous support from the island, as well as support from a wide spectrum of stakeholders and community based in Shetland including the members of the Council and Marine Spatial Plan Advisory group and the majority of wider stakeholders, including the Public Petitions Committee and the Council of Europe, as well as eNGOs such as Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and National Trust of Scotland.
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