1. Executive summary
This report provides a summary of the analysis of responses submitted on the designation of the four possible Marine Protected Areas; North-east Lewis, Sea of the Hebrides, Shiant East Bank and Southern Trench. The consultation opened on the 07 June 2019 and closed on 30 August 2019.
The Scottish Government hosted a stakeholder workshop in March 2019 to discuss the designation of the four sites. A range of organisations and business groups attended the event, and issues relating to the possible Marine Protected Areas were discussed. Additionally, 14 ‘Public Drop-in Events’ took place throughout Scotland at locations close to the proposed sites. These events presented an opportunity for The Scottish Government and NatureScot (previously known as Scottish Natural Heritage) to present to the public and stakeholders on the possible Marine Protected Areas.
Following the collection of consultee responses, a mixed method approach was adopted for the consultation analysis. This ensured a comprehensive review of the qualitative and quantitative data.
Additionally, responses to comments raised through the consultation are given to provide clarification or further information where possible.
1.2. Responses received
In total, 222 respondents provided responses for the consultation. Respondents were identified in different categories to allow for further analysis. The respondent categories are as follows:
- Aquaculture Business/Association;
- Community Group;
- Energy Provider;
- Fishing Group or Organisation;
- Other Business;
- Other Industry Association;
- Recreation and Tourism Business/Association; and
- Regulator or Local Authority.
A total of 7,832 campaign responses were received via campaigns hosted by Marine Conservation Society, Scottish Wildlife Trust, and Whale and Dolphin Conservation.
1.3. Summary of responses
The following provides a summary of the key outcomes:
- Between 150 and 160 respondents (66% to 70%) stated that they ‘Strongly Supported’ the designation for each of the four sites.
- Between 10 and 15 respondents (4% to 7%) stated that they ‘Strongly Opposed’ the designation for each of the four sites.
- The level of support differed for each site but not considerably.
- 172 respondents (72%) stated that they agreed that the Scientific Evidence presented justifies the case for the designation of each site.
- 77 to 102 respondents (35% to 46%) had further comments on the Conservation and Management Advice, the Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment and the Sustainability Appraisal for each site.
Key comments raised in consultation responses included:
- The possible Marine Protected Areas help to protect and enhance biodiversity.
- Marine Protected Areas help to promote tourism.
- More marine areas around Scotland should be given Marine Protected Area status or there should be more stringent Marine Protected Area regulatory controls.
- Marine Protected Areas help to address national, regional and local environmental targets.
- Marine Protected Areas help to protect areas from the negative environmental effects created by fishing.
- The possible Marine Protected Areas may have negative economic impacts in areas where the main source of employment is fishing.
- The possible Marine Protected Areas will fail to discourage the negative environmental impacts created by fishing.
- Fishing has taken place in these areas for a significant period of time and has had few or no negative effects on biodiversity.
As a result of responses to this consultation, the boundary for the Shiant East Bank possible Marine Protected Area has been amended.