Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) - site selection: draft guidelines

Guidelines describing the proposed process for identifying and selecting Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) in Scottish waters. These were drafted by our statutory nature conservation advisors, NatureScot and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC).

7 Development of HPMA proposals

7.1 Objectives

Objectives will describe what it is that individual HPMA designations have been set up to achieve. These will provide a starting point for developing management and will inform future monitoring.

Some objectives are expected to take a generic format. For example, a general statement that the HPMA will contribute to delivering ecosystem recovery and resilience. Other objectives may be tailored to the specifics of a site, to account for differences between HPMAs. Objective setting will consider ecological aspects (akin to 'conservation objectives' developed for MPAs) and may also consider wider social, cultural and economic aspirations.

Separate guidance will be published on the production of objectives for HPMAs.

7.2 Achievement of objectives

HPMAs will be subject to the existing six-yearly MPA network reporting cycle to track progress towards achieving their objectives.

Monitoring will be undertaken at a subset of sites to determine the achievement of objectives and, to assess the contribution of HPMAs to the wider network (as per their 'added value'). Assessing and monitoring HPMAs over long timescales will be essential to determine their role in supporting ecosystem recovery.

7.3 Materials to support HPMA proposals

Proposals for HPMAs will likely be a combination of those developed by NatureScot and/or JNCC, and those submitted by stakeholders through the third party proposal process. All proposals will be subject to discussions and workshops with stakeholders. During these HPMA workshops and meetings, stakeholders will include representatives from other Government departments, local authorities, industry, environmental NGOs, recreational users and others who have an interest in the Scottish marine environment.

As the HPMA process continues, the level of engagement with stakeholders will increasingly reflect direct interest in specific proposals.

During public consultation, stakeholders will be provided with sufficient information (in non-technical language) on each HPMA proposal to ensure they understand the anticipated contribution of the site, and what the implications of designation might be. Each HPMA proposal will therefore include:

  • An introduction to the HPMA proposal and the area within which it is located
  • The expected contribution of the proposal to the Scottish MPA network
  • The HPMA proposal's objectives
  • A description of the information sources used in developing the proposal, and our confidence in them
  • A summary of the assessment of the HPMA proposal against the selection guidelines (Figure 2 and Annex A)
  • Expected arrangements for management of the HPMA where available, including management of activities
  • A map of the proposed boundary


Email: HPMA@gov.scot

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