Proposal to designate a deep sea marine reserve: consultation

We are seeking your views on the potential creation of the West of Scotland Deep Sea Marine Reserve, as part of the Scottish Marine Protected Area (MPA) network.


The Scottish Government's vision for the marine environment is of clean, healthy, safe, productive and diverse seas; managed to meet the long term needs of nature and people.

Thank you for taking the time to consider this consultation paper. We would welcome your views on potential creation of the West of Scotland Deep Sea Marine Reserve, as part of the Scottish Marine Protected Area (MPA) network. This consultation fulfils a commitment in the 2018-19 Programme for Government, and builds on the 2017-18 Programme for Government commitment to assess the feasibility of creating a Deep Sea Marine Reserve.

If taken forward to designation, the site would be underpinned by the powers in the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009. This means in legal terms it would have the same status as the other existing Marine Protected Areas in offshore waters.

The West of Scotland Deep Sea Marine Reserve, if designated, would help meet our international commitments to protect the marine environment in the North-East Atlantic, as required under the OSPAR Convention. Ten of the habitats and species identified for protection are on the OSPAR threatened and/or declining list[1].

The consultation seeks your views on the following questions:

1. Do you support the designation of the West of Scotland Deep Sea Marine Reserve?

2. Do you agree that the scientific evidence presented justifies the case for designation?

3. Do you have any comments on the Conservation Objectives and Management Advice?

4. Do you have any comments on the Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment?

5. Do you have any comments on the Sustainability Appraisal, including the Environmental Report and the Socio-Economic Impact Assessment?

What documents should I read to answer these questions?

The following documents are available:

  • Ecological overview
  • Data confidence assessment of the scientific evidence
  • Methods Document: The Short List of Proposed Protected Features
  • Conservation objectives and management advice
  • Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment (BRIA)
  • Strategic Environmental Assessment
  • Socio-Economic Impact Assessment
  • Sustainability Appraisal, combining environmental, social and economic effects

For additional information please refer to:

  • The Marine Protected Areas Network – 2018 Report to the Scottish Parliament[2]
  • JNCC[3] MPA network web pages
  • Scottish Government MPA network web pages[4]

To view the proposed West of Scotland Deep Sea Marine Reserve site in relation to the rest of Scotland's MPA network please visit Marine Scotland Maps[5]. The downloadable GIS data on the Deep Sea Marine Reserve is available on under Open Government Licence.

How do I respond to the consultation?

You are invited to respond to this consultation by 31 December 2019. Please respond to the consultation using the Scottish Government's consultation hub, Citizen Space ( You can access and respond to this consultation online at

Further details on how to respond can be found in Appendix A & B



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