12.1.1 While no specific proposals for monitoring have been presented in the Consultation Document, this SEA outlines monitoring requirements within the current regulatory framework, and gives an overview of the scope for monitoring with the future growth of the seaweed industry.
12.2 Cultivation and IMTA
12.2.1 There is a wide range of research being undertaken worldwide into the large-scale viability and methods of seaweed cultivation, particularly relating to large-scale biofuel production, and into the benefits and impacts of IMTA. However, there has been comparatively little research undertaken into potential environmental effects of seaweed cultivation, particularly in the Scottish context.
12.2.2 There is significant scope for adding to this research here in Scotland, and the growth of this industry in the future should provide scope for additional study in this industry. At present, the inclusion of supplementary conditions for monitoring in marine licences issued by Marine Scotland provides an avenue for requiring environmental monitoring by operators of cultivation sites. The inclusion of a policy in the Consultation Document placing the onus on the applicant to demonstrate that mitigation measures have been considered for medium-scale sites and to set out how these will be delivered, may also provide an opportunity for monitoring of environmental effects.
12.3 Harvesting in the Wild
12.3.1 While much is known about Scotland's rich and varied wild seaweed resources, increases in commercial harvesting in the wild will likely require increased species and spatial knowledge of these resources. The implementation of the SPS and the growth of the seaweed industry will likely provide further opportunity for additional spatial studies to be undertaken.
12.3.2 The investigation of options for managing the potential growth of industry for harvesting in the wild also presents an opportunity to develop this knowledge-base. This opportunity to engage with the industry, in discussion of options and the potential for future growth, would likely be beneficial in adding practical knowledge and experience in an environmental context to the work currently being undertaken by Marine Scotland and Scottish Association of Marine Science ( SAMS).
12.3.3 In the environmental context, the large degree of uncertainty and the site-specific nature of potential environmental impacts identified in this SEA demonstrates clear gaps in current knowledge. Factors such as impacts of both cultivation and wild harvesting on coastal processes, regrowth and regeneration of harvesting seaweed, the effects of different harvesting techniques and the potential significance of benthic shading are some examples of the aspects of the industry that could be studied further in the Scottish context.