Highly Protected Marine Areas - policy framework and site selection guidelines: ICIA – partial screening report

This report seeks to complete the first two stages of the island communities impact assessment (ICIA) process by identifying whether there are issues which merit further exploration. Consultation responses will be used to determine whether a full ICIA is required once specific HPMA sites are proposed.

9. Impacts and Outcomes

It is intended that HPMAs will place strict limits on human activities to allow the protection and recovery of marine ecosystems. Examples of activities which it is proposed will not be allowed within HPMAs include (noting that insofar as aspects of some of these activities are reserved, they cannot be regulated by the Scottish Parliament):

  • commercial or non-commercial (including recreational) fishing. This includes fishing with mobile and static gears, demersal and pelagic gears, hand gathering and diving
  • collection by any method of flora, fauna, natural materials (e.g. crustaceans, molluscs, seaweed, fossils, shells, rocks, sediments, seagrass, algae)
  • activities associated with oil and gas exploration and production*
  • activities associated with renewable energy production
  • aggregate extraction
  • anchoring*
  • water abstraction
  • mining*
  • construction or installation of objects or infrastructure (including rock dump and rock armour)
  • any form of aquaculture (finfish, shellfish, seaweed or other)
  • other deposit or release of any substance or material (e.g. dredged material, rubbish, organic waste, chemicals)
  • intentional introduction or release of plants, animals or other living organisms (except for the purposes of a recognised restoration project specifically relating to the aims of the HPMA)
  • use of explosives*
  • use of acoustic deterrent devices (ADDs)*
  • seismic surveys*
  • salvage operations*

*We intend to work with the UK Government to avoid these activities taking place in HPMAs wherever possible.

Limits on these human activities will likely have impacts on islands in the direct proximity of HPMAs. An internal scoping workshop was held, involving relevant members of Marine Scotland staff, with the aim of identifying ways in which the impact of the delivery of the policy commitment to designate HPMAs may differ for island communities.

At this stage, before sites have been proposed, potential general human activities that may be affected given rise to significantly differential impacts for island communities have been identified. The following areas may warrant further investigation, depending on the location of proposed HPMAs and how these locations would interact with island communities.

  • The vulnerability of island communities where employment is dominated by both fisheries and aquaculture, and the island economy is highly dependent on these activities, is likely to be a key consideration.
  • Spatial location of commercial fisheries activity may restrict the output capacity of this sector. Where an island community supports a specialist fishery that will be disproportionately impacted, this is more likely to require full assessment.
  • Presence of aquaculture production businesses on island communities that could be in direct proximity of proposed HPMAs.
  • Carefully managed eco-tourism that provides employment to an island community without causing damage to an HPMA could potentially have positive impacts. Positive economic opportunities created by HPMAs may not offset negative impacts if the types of employment are not directly comparable. It is our intention to engage with those with direct experience of island life (including island authorities, relevant businesses and island community members) during the site selection period to ensure that any additional island-specific impacts are identified when specific HPMAs proposals. The findings of this engagement will be fed into a full ICIA screening assessment.


Email: HPMA@gov.scot

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