Management Proposals of Inshore Fisheries Groups

Consultation on the initiatives developed by Inshore Fisheries Groups with the potential for environmental impact.

Appendix 1 Environmental Protection Objectives

Context for the SEA

The Environmental Assessment (Scotland) Act 2005 requires responsible authorities to identify the broader policy context and the environmental protection objectives relevant to the plan that is being assessed. The policy context for the development of the IFG proposals is described in Section 2 of this report; the following paragraphs set out the broader policy environment, in terms of relationships between the proposals and other plans, programmes or strategies ( PPS). Greater detail on the PPS policy context review and the environmental protection objectives is provided in the following table.

Marine Policy

Marine policy includes international conventions, European Directives, and UK and Scottish strategy and law. The key policy messages relate to the need to balance competing interests and objectives within the marine environment within a strong protective framework. Protection of the marine environment includes managing marine transport, sustainable management of fish stocks, coastal protection and access within the context of sustainable economic growth.

Biodiversity, flora and fauna

The international context sets the framework for the conservation, protection and sustainable use of biodiversity, flora and fauna. In relation to the coastal environment this includes planning for sustainable fisheries and mariculture, the protection of migratory species, including birds and fish stocks, protection of coastal wetland habitats, and management of non-native invasive species. Cetaceans and sharks are also highlighted as requiring specific protection from a range of marine activities including fishing and pollution.

There is strong emphasis on an ecosystems approach to managing and restoring marine and coastal environments. Protected sites as part of the Natura 2000 network also form a key component of the protection of fauna and flora. European and Scottish policy reflect the objectives of an eco-systems approach, action for priority species and habitats, with particular reference to the protection of seals and sustainable management of fish stocks. Building resilience to climate change is also a cross-cutting theme


There are numerous provisions for the protection of the water environment at an international, European and national level. A number of these specifically relate to controlling pollution from ships and off shore activities, and also relate to the dumping of waste. There is a strong positive framework for improving water quality including coastal areas and designated bathing waters.

Cultural Heritage

There is an international and national framework for the protection of archaeological and historic features and objects. Activities such as seabed development and certain fishing methods have the potential to damage seabed archaeology. There is a focus on protection, conservation and improving understanding of marine archaeology.



Marine Policy


UN Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 ( UNCLOS)

Defines the rights and responsibilities of nations in their use of the world's oceans, establishing guidelines for businesses, the environment, and the management of natural resources.


EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive 2007 ( MSFD)

The MSFD is the most recent marine obligation on EU Member States. It extends the requirements of the Water Framework Directive ( WFD) into seas beyond 1nm. The MSFD requires Member States to "take necessary measures to achieve or maintain good environmental status in the marine environment by the year 2020…".

European Integrated Maritime Policy 2007

Aims to deliver a sustainable development approach for Europe's oceans and seas. Its scope includes: a marine transport strategy and new ports policy; research and data collection and management strategies, and work to mitigate the effects of climate change on coastal regions.

United Kingdom

Coast Protection Act 1949 (as amended by The Coast Protection (Notices) (Scotland) Regulations 1988 and The Coast Protection (Notices) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 1996)

Sets out the licensing and regulatory framework within which activities including navigation and flood defences are set. Aims to protect the coast from erosion and encroachment and to ensure safety in navigation. Excludes some tidal waters in Scotland. Local authorities which include coastline within their boundaries are designated as coastal protection authorities and given specific duties and powers to undertake coastal defence works where necessary.

Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009

The key issues covered by the Act comprise: the creation of a Marine Management Organisation ( MMO); planning in the marine area; licensing activities in the marine area; marine nature conservation; managing marine fisheries; reform of inland and migratory fisheries; modernisation and streamlining of enforcement powers; administrative penalties scheme for domestic fisheries offences; and access to coastal land.

Our seas - a shared resource 2009 86

Sets out high level objectives for the UK marine environment. This includes achieving a sustainable marine economy, ensuring a strong, healthy and just society, living within environmental limits, promoting good governance and using sound science responsibly. Renewable energy is strongly supported by the strategy.


Marine (Scotland) Act 2010

Aims to manage activities with Scotland's marine environment in a sustainable way. Notes the importance of protecting seas whilst facilitating sustainable economic growth. Introduces a new statutory marine planning system, a simpler licensing system, improved marine nature and historic conservation with new powers to protect and manage areas of importance for marine wildlife, habitats and historic monuments; improved protection for seals and enforcement powers.

Biodiversity, Flora & Fauna


UN Convention on Biological Diversity (1992)

Article 6 requires that all parties to the Convention develop national biodiversity strategies, plans or programmes, and that they seek to integrate the provisions of these across other policy sectors. Article 7 requires the identification of key resources and their protection. Monitoring of potentially damaging processes and activities should also be undertaken, and the establishment of representative networks of protected areas in the maritime environment by 2012.

Bonn Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals 1979

Aims to conserve terrestrial, marine and avian species through international co-operation. Is of particular relevance to the conservation of cetaceans in and around Scottish waters

Convention on Wetlands of International Importance 1971 (amended 1982/87)

Otherwise known as the Ramsar Convention, this emphasises the special value of wetland, particularly as a key habitat for waterfowl. The Convention resulted in designation of sites for management and conservation.

Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic ( OSPAR Convention).

This Convention led to establishment of a cross-regional commission promoting an ecosystems approach to marine management, including establishment of a network of Marine Protected Areas ( MPAs). Its five work areas are biodiversity and ecosystems, eutrophication, hazardous substances, offshore industry, and radioactive substances). Climate change is also a key cross-cutting theme. Also includes a Biological Diversity and Ecosystems Strategy.

IMO International Convention on Ballast Water Management 2004

Aims to prevent the introduction of harmful aquatic organisms and pathogens to new environments and promote the development of measures to address aquatic invasive species in ballast water. Includes guidelines relating to ballast water sampling, reception facilities, exchange, emergency situations, and ballast water management systems. These guidelines are kept under review and are updated by the MEPC when the development of technologies and additional knowledge become available.

European Strategy on Invasive Alien Species 2003

A Bern Convention initiative, the strategy aims to facilitate implementation of international commitments and best practice in management of invasive alien species ( IAS). It covers terrestrial, freshwater and marine environments, and provides guidance for activities undertaken outside national jurisdiction (such as shipping), with the following objectives:

  • Increase awareness and information on IAS.
  • Strengthen national and regional capacity for managing IAS issues.
  • Prevent the introduction of new IAS into and within Europe.
  • Support rapid response to detected incursions.
  • Reduce the adverse impact of existing invasive alien species.
  • Recover species, restore natural habitats and ecosystems that have been adversely affected by IAS.
  • Identify and prioritise key actions to be implemented at both the national and regional level.

Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds 1995 ( AEWA)

An independent international treaty developed under the auspices of the UNEP/Convention on Migratory Species. The AEWA covers 235 species of birds ecologically dependent on wetlands for at least part of their annual cycle, including species of divers, grebes, cormorants, herons, ducks, swans, geese, waders, gulls, and terns.

Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic, North East Atlantic, Irish and North Seas 1992 ( ASCOBANS)

An agreement on the protection of small cetaceans, noting that the migratory nature of dolphins, porpoises and whales means that they can be vulnerable to a range of marine activities and issues.


Council Directive 92/43/ EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora (the Habitats Directive)

Established a commitment to designating networks of sites of ecological importance across Europe. These are known as Natura 2000 sites and include special protection areas ( SPAs designated under the Birds Directive - see following paragraph) and special areas of conservation ( SACs) ensuring the protection of species and habitats of community interest.

Council Directive 79/409/ EEC on the conservation of wild birds (the Birds Directive)

Protects all wild birds (together with their nests and eggs) and their associated habitats. Commitment to designation of SPAs (included in Natura 2000 sites - see preceding paragraph).

Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (1979)

Aimed to promote co-operation between European states to protect biodiversity.

The Pan-European Biological and Landscape Diversity Strategy (1995)

The Strategy aims to reverse the decline of landscape and biological diversity, by promoting innovation and proactive policy making. It supports preceding measures for protecting natural heritage, and aims to supplement this by further promoting a number of action themes relating to different environmental resources. Emphasises the rapid decline of some key characteristics and resources, including traditional human-made landscapes, coastal zones, marine areas, wetlands, mountains and grassland.

EU Biodiversity Strategy (1998)

Aims to "anticipate, prevent and attack" any reduction or loss of species and habitats across Europe. Supports implementation of the Habitats and Birds Directives, supports the establishment of networks of protected sites, aims to achieve conservation by making plans for priority resources. Also notes the importance of biodiversity outside of protected areas. Refers to agriculture and its role in relation to biodiversity conservation.

United Kingdom

Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981

Provides the framework for protection of species other than European Protected Species. Sets out protection objectives for specified birds and wild animals. The Act's various schedules detail the species that are protected under the Act, including dolphins, porpoises, and numerous birds such as geese and ducks. This was reviewed and updated in December 2008 and it was recommended that several further species of marine fish should be added to the lists attached to the Act, including shark, seahorse and ray species.

Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010 (as amended)

Transposes the requirements for protection of designated sites under the Habitats and Birds Directives, and the framework for protection of European Protected Species. Applies within 12nm. Several marine species are protected by various development consenting regimes covered by the Act. This includes marine turtles, all species of dolphins, porpoise and whale, seals and several types of marine fish (Atlantic salmon, barbel etc.)

The Offshore Marine Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c) Regulations 2007 (the Offshore Marine Regulations)

The Regulations extend protection to important species and habitats under the Birds and Habitats Directives beyond UK territorial waters ( i.e. outside 12nm). Give protection to marine species, wild birds and habitats, mainly through the creation of offences and site protection mechanisms. Provide the definition of deliberate disturbance applicable to cetaceans, turtles and the Atlantic sturgeon

UK Biodiversity Action Plan 1994 ( UKBAP)

In response to the 1992 Convention on Biological Diversity, this describes the UK's biological resources, commits a detailed plan for the protection of these resources. Sets out 1150 species and 65 habitats which are priorities for conservation action in the UK. The list was last updated in 2007 and includes 87 species in the marine group. Numerous habitats are also relevant to Scotland's marine environment, including several which are specific to coastal areas (salt marsh, sand dunes) or the marine environment (including machair, maerl beds, mud habitats in deep water, estuarine rocky habitats, blue mussel beds, carbonate mounds, tide swept channels, reefs, and intertidal mudflats).


Marine (Scotland) Act 2010

Provides for the selection of Marine Protected Areas ( MPAs) and the protection and conservation of seals in and in adjacent territorial seas. The Habitats Directive and the 1994 Regulations (see above) introduced additional measures for the protection of seals.

Nature Conservation (Scotland ) Act 2004

  • Introduced a 'duty to further the conservation of biodiversity' for all public bodies, and sets out more specific provisions within this including for Sites of Special Scientific Interest. Also states a requirement for the preparation of a Scottish Biodiversity Strategy, to which all public bodies should pay regard. Applies to 12nm around Scotland and includes protection measures for marine species.

Scotland's Biodiversity - It's In Your Hands: A strategy for the conservation and enhancement of biodiversity in Scotland (2004)

Sets out Scottish aims relating to biodiversity over 25 year period. Seeks to go beyond a previous emphasis on protecting individual sites to achieve conservation at a broader scale. Aims to halt loss and reverse decline of key species, to raise awareness of biodiversity value at a landscape or ecosystem scale, and to promote knowledge, understanding and involvement amongst people. The Strategy notes the importance and health of Scotland's ecosystems, and summarises key trends.

A Strategy for Marine Nature Conservation in Scotland's Seas (2011)

Sets out Scottish aims for protecting and, where possible, enhancing marine biodiversity by implementing these with the partnership of stakeholders over both the short-term (by 2012) and the long-term (by 2020). The Strategy adopts the three pillar approach for species conservation, site protection, and wider seas policies and measures. The strategy identifies the need for co-operation in the pursuit of shared marine objectives to meet international, UK and national obligations.



IMO International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships 1973 ( MARPOL)

Aims to prevent marine pollution from ships and in part from oil rigs and production platforms. It includes annexes covering pollution by oil, noxious liquids, harmful substances, sewage, garbage and air pollution. Recent changes focus on reducing the sulphur content and particulate emissions from fuel in the shipping sector.

International Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation, 1990

Provides a framework for international co-operation in combating major incidents or threats of marine pollution. Of particular relevance in relation to collision and grounding risk for vessels in Scottish waters.

London Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter 1972 (as amended)

Prohibits the dumping of certain hazardous materials, requires a prior special permit for the dumping of a number of other wastes, and a prior general permit for other wastes or materials. It also creates a basis in international law to allow and regulate carbon capture and storage ( CCS) in sub-seabed geological formations.


Water Framework Directive 2000/60/ EC

This provides an overarching strategy, including a requirement for EU Member States to ensure that they achieve 'good ecological status' by 2015. River Basin Management Plans ( RBMPs) were defined as the key means of achieving this. The Marine Strategy Framework Directive extends coverage of coastal waters beyond 1nm.

Bathing Waters Directive (2006/7/ EEC)

Aims to protect the public and the environment from faecal pollution at waters used for bathing by large numbers of visitors. Achieves this by making information on quality public, and setting standards to be met by 2015.

United Kingdom

The Merchant Shipping (Implementation of Ship-Source Pollution Directive) Regulations 2009 87

Implements Directive 2005/35/ EC on ship-source pollution and on the introduction of penalties for infringements.

Merchant Shipping Act 1995

General provisions for merchant shipping, seamen, and safety. Part VI focuses on prevention of pollution, including oil pollution, and sets out responsibilities and liabilities. Also covers international incidents. Other issues include lighthouses, salvage and wrecks.

Environmental Protection Act 1990

Covers pollution control and waste management. Also covers litter, radioactive substances and genetically modified organisms. Pollution at sea is specifically controlled.

Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999

Implements Directive 96/61/ EC (Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control). Regulating industrial and commercial activities which may cause environmental pollution and to prevent and control emissions that are capable of causing any pollution.

Fundamental aim is that environmental problems be addressed in an integrated way.


Environmental Liability (Scotland) Regulations 2009

Covers incidents of significant damage to biodiversity, water or land. In accordance with the European Environmental Liability Directive (2004/35/ EC), aims to apply the polluter pays principle by requiring restoration in such instances.

Water Environment and Water Services (Scotland) Act 2003 ( WEWS Act)

Transposes the Water Framework Directive into the Scottish context. Aims to protect the water environment by ensuring a reliable and high quality supply of water, reducing groundwater pollution, and protecting marine and other waters.

The Water Environment (Controlled Activities) (Scotland) Regulations 2005

Sets out the process by which activities that have the potential to affect Scotland's water environment are regulated. Authorisation under the CAR is required for discharging to waters, disposal of pollutants to land, abstractions, impoundments and engineering works affecting water bodies. Is of particular relevance to the plan in relation to physical works.

Pollution Prevention and Control (Scotland) Regulations 2000

Transposes the requirements outlined in the Pollution Prevention and Control Act 1999 and Directive 96/61/ EC (Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control) in the Scotland regulatory system.

SEPA (2008) River Basin Management Plans Scotland

Notes the key pressures and their environmental impacts on Scottish water bodies including coastal areas. Key issues affecting coastal areas include diffuse and point source pollution, organic matter and ammonia, faecal pathogens, toxic substances, and loss of intertidal areas. Some of these issues may be exacerbated by climate change. Objectives for specific water bodies can be found in an interactive map on SEPA's website 88 . This also shows the variation in quality of coastal water bodies at present.

Scottish Executive Environment Group (2002) Scotland's Bathing Waters A Strategy for Improvement

Aims to reduce water pollution in order to specifically improve bathing water catchments. Measures include changes to agricultural practices to address diffuse pollution, ensuring compliance with controls of industrial discharges, and making more use of Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems ( SUDS).

Bathing Waters (Scotland) Regulations 2008

Implements Bathing Waters Directive.

Flood Risk Management (Scotland) Act 2009

Includes new measures for sustainable flood risk management. This includes co-ordination and co-operation between relevant organisations, development of flood risk assessment and planning and tools for delivery and enforcement. Applicable to coastal flood protection measures.

Climatic Factors

United Kingdom

Climate Change Act 2009

Aims to improve carbon management and promote the transition towards a low-carbon economy in the UK.

Includes provisions on carbon budgeting systems, and a legally binding target in cutting greenhouse gas emissions, including air and shipping emissions, by 2020 and 2050.


Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009

Includes a greenhouse gas emissions reduction target of 80% by 2050 and an interim target of 42% by 2020. Proposals include setting of targets for 2050 and interim periods, requirement for annual reporting, and provisions for meeting targets through additional policies and legislation. The targets include emissions from the aviation and shipping sectors.

Climate Change Delivery Plan: meeting Scotland's statutory climate change targets (2009)

Sets out the measures required to meet Scotland's targets for climate change mitigation included in the Act (above). Includes commitments to the development of the renewable energy sector, including marine renewables. Also aims to reduce emissions from aviation and shipping. Further reductions could arise from the use of biofuels in shipping and improved energy efficiency measures, but interventions will be required to achieve this. Notes that shipping can be an efficient mode of freight transport, despite the recorded emissions from the sector.

Preparing for a Changing Climate (Consultation Paper) 2009

Second consultation on a climate change adaptation framework for Scotland. It focuses on developing a better understanding of exposure to climate change in Scotland, improving organisational adaptive capacity, and taking into account and addressing competing pressures. Further discussion of the issues raised in the paper is provided in the baseline section below.

Adapting Our Ways: Managing Scotland's Climate Risk: Consultation to inform Scotland's Climate Change Adaptation Framework 2008

Makes various references to the need to assist natural resources with climate change adaptation, using examples such as the habitat networks that are proposed within the NPF. Second consultation recently published.

Cultural Heritage


UNCLOS 1982 was ratified by the UK in 1997

Article 303 stipulates that 'states have the duty to protect objects of an archaeological and historical nature found at sea and shall co-operate for this purpose' and provides for coastal states to exert a degree of control over the archaeological heritage to 24 nautical miles

United Kingdom

Joint Nautical Archaeology Policy Committee ( JNAPC) Code of Practice for Seabed Developers ( JNAPC 2007)

The JNAPC Code is voluntary but provides a framework that seabed developers can use in conducting their activities in an archaeologically sensitive manner. A guidance note on protocols to deal with the marine historic environment developed specifically for the offshore renewable energy sector has also been prepared.

Protection of Wrecks Act 1973

The 1973 Act provides protection for designated wrecks and for the designation of dangerous sites.

Protection of Military Remains Act 1986

The 1986 Act provides protection for military aircraft and designated vessel wrecks.

Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979

Provides for the protection of archaeological heritage, including the scheduling of 'monuments'. The Act, which is administered by Historic Scotland, primarily deals with terrestrial locations but there is provision to designate submarine sites.


Scottish Historic Environment Policy ( SHEP) (Updated 2009)

Provides the overarching framework for historic environment policy in Scotland, consolidating and replacing the previously separate SHEPs. Aims to promote effective conservation and to enhance enjoyment and understanding of the historic environment, linking it with the Scottish Government's central purpose. Recognises the importance of the historic environment as an economic resource and also states a Ministerial commitment to connecting the population with their cultural legacy.

Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997

Provides criteria and a framework for the designation and listing of historic buildings and conservation areas within Scotland, and rights of owners, enforcement and authorisation of works affecting listed buildings.

SHEP on the Marine Historic Environment (Consultation Document) 2008

Set proposals for new legislation on the marine historic environment to be incorporated into the Marine Bill (now enacted). This included provisions to broaden the types of sites which can be designated on the basis of their national importance, arrangements for consultation in advance of designation, and proposals for powers and provisions to allow for site maintenance.

Scottish Planning Policy ( SPP) 2008

Sets out the framework for protecting the historic environment through the planning system.


Back to top