1.1 Thank you for taking the time to consider this consultation paper. Marine Scotland is consulting on a number of proposals to take forward integrated marine planning for Scotland's seas. Chapter 4 of The National Marine Plan proposes that Priority Marine Features should be specifically taken into account in future planning and decision making.
1.2 The recommended list of Priority Marine Features ( PMFs) represents 80 habitats and species of marine conservation importance for which it would be appropriate to use either area based measures such as Marine Protected Areas, or non-area based mechanisms or a mixture of both to achieve better protection. Action will be prioritised via a three-pillar approach, i.e. species measures, site-based measures, and wider seas policies and measures as set out in Marine Scotland's Marine Nature Conservation Strategy.
1.3 PMFs as a whole will be protected by a range of mechanisms as appropriate and individual features may benefit from action under more than one pillar, or indeed under all 3 pillars. Marine planning and other measures could potentially provide additional benefits under the wider seas pillar by considering the sensitivities of habitats and species in marine decision making.
1.4 The PMF work brings a Scottish focus to existing marine species and habitat listings, and will be used to help target conservation work in Scotland's seas more effectively.
1.5 This list reflects current knowledge and understanding and will be subject to periodic review to take account of the best available evidence.
1.6 Please note that the closing date for responses is: 13 November 2013. All comments from the consultation will be considered and used to inform the finalisation of the Priority Marine Features list.