Phase 2 MPA measures and PMF review minutes: Orkney meeting two - 8 January 2020

Minutes of Marine Scotland's second meeting in Orkney on 8 January 2020 prior to enacting phase 2 Marine Protected Areas (MPA) measures and Priority Marine Features (PMF) review.

Attendees and apologies

Attending organisations:

  • Orkney Fisheries Association (OFA)
  • Marine Scotland
  • Scottish Natural Heritage
  • local fishers

Items and actions

To note - this is Marine Scotland's record of the meeting. It has not been agreed by meeting participants.

General points

Questions about how PMFs are determined, why deemed a priority, and also how relevant EU legislation will be transposed into UK and Scots law. 

Worried that gear such as abandoned creels (with doors open) are classified as ghost fishing when they aren’t actively catching.

Discussion about maerl, and its natural movement during storm events or high flow. SNH gave brief background on maerl and why it is considered sensitive. 

Acknowledgement from industry that they’re going to need to support management for different types of sustainable fisheries going forward.

Suggestion that zoning should be done differently in areas where trawls aren’t undertaken. 

Discussion about vessel tracking; highlighted that most licensable commercial industries have tracking in place already (aircraft, shipping, commercial vehicles), and that the data would be able to prove innocence and compliance within MPAs.

Discussion about Orkney PMF management measures

Hoy Sound to South Walls (East)

The meeting discussed the fishing patterns in the area and highlighted the area of horse mussel beds off Cava where fishers would like a channel left available, through the middle of the two parallel strips of horse mussel beds.


  • MS to speak to compliance to explore if more complex areas can be regulated

Suggest using bathymetric contours rather than depth-specific buffers to retain the tow up the channel.

MS highlighted that the absence of records in the centre of the channel currently only reflects the survey distribution. 


The meeting would welcome a possible reduction in the site area to cover the horse mussel beads to the east. 

Widewall Bay

The meeting proposed a reduction in the area where there were no seagrass beds to permit overnight anchoring, using dredges, to allow sheltering from poor weather. 

Orkney Sounds and Firths (South)

Would welcome opening up additional ground on south end. 

Discussion about relevant MPA management measures

Moray Firth

Lossie windfarm likely to displace scallop fishers into area which we are proposing a ban on dredging. 

Highlight that it would also create a safety issue, pushing small (<12m) vessels further offshore. 

Highlighted high value squid fishery; MS assured that we’re looking to update the SEIA to ensure the value of this fishery is included in the cost impact estimation.

Highlighted that socio-economic impact has moved on since original discussion, with development of wind sector in particular.


  • MS to send Moray Firth MPA image with proposed management areas

Action point summary

  • MS to speak to compliance to explore if more complex areas can be regulated
  • MS to send Moray Firth MPA image with proposed management areas
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