Highly Protected Marine Areas: policy framework

Sets out our proposed definition and aims of Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) and what this could mean for different activities taking place in Scottish waters. Also describes how we will account for socio-economic factors alongside ecological considerations and proposed new legal powers.

7. Monitoring and compliance

7.1 Ecological monitoring

As HPMAs will form part of Scotland’s MPA network it is intended that they will be subject to the existing six-yearly MPA network reporting cycle to the Scottish Parliament. In this reporting cycle, HPMAs will be reviewed to ensure that they are meeting, or are progressing towards meeting, their agreed conservation objectives and whether any additional management measures are likely to be required. Monitoring will inform future decisions on the suitability of existing management measures to ensure that allowed activities remain at non-damaging levels. We will take into account the recovery of some ecosystems or habitats may take several years (potentially decades in some cases) so measurable benefits from HPMAs may not be apparent within the timeframe of a single monitoring cycle.

7.2 Compliance monitoring and enforcement

Effective compliance monitoring and enforcement of restrictions will be crucial to HPMAs having a tangible benefit. To ensure this is successful we intend to embed and consider implications for compliance and enforcement throughout the process of identifying sites, setting their boundaries and developing the required legislation. The compliance and enforcement measures needed will therefore be considered in the context of the overall legal framework, including the site specific designation orders, as well as through regular prioritisation and assessment of our compliance assets.

HPMAs will potentially place restrictions on activities that have not previously been prohibited in Scottish waters and therefore subject to compliance, monitoring and enforcement actions, such as some recreational fishing. However, we believe the proposed simple and strict approach for protection of HPMAs will be clear for marine users to understand and comply with. This should simplify the compliance, monitoring and enforcement of restrictions in place in HPMAs.

It is intended that the enforcement powers and penalty system for HPMAs will mirror those which currently exist for MPAs, including for restrictions on activities which have not previously been prohibited in Scottish waters.


Email: HPMA@gov.scot

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