The Marine (Scotland) Act and the UK Marine and Coastal Access Act contained provisions for the designation of a network of Marine Protected Areas ( MPAs) in Scottish territorial and offshore waters in order to protect marine biodiversity and geodiversity and contribute to a UK and international network of MPAs. New Nature Conservation MPAs, along with existing protected sites in Scotland's marine environment, will contribute to achieving Good Environmental Status ( GES) under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive ( MSFD) and deliver Scotland's contribution to the ecologically coherent network of MPAs under the OSPAR convention on the protection of the marine environment in the North East Atlantic.
Proposed sites for Nature Conservation MPAs have been identified, following Scottish Natural Heritage ( SNH) and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee's ( JNCC's) application of the Guidelines on the Selection of MPAs and Development of the MPA Network to MPA search locations in Scotland's territorial and offshore waters respectively. Scottish Ministers reported to Parliament on progress towards developing the Scottish MPA network in December 2012, with their report including up to 33 potential areas for Nature Conservation MPAs ( NC MPAs), together with four MPA Search Locations, primarily for mobile features ( Image 1). One proposed MPA (Central Fladen) contains a 'core' area and an additional area that represents an option to take forward protection of seapens and burrowing megafauna. A formal public consultation on proposals for designation of specific MPAs will be undertaken in 2013. Following this public consultation, Scottish Ministers will decide on whether to designate specific sites as MPAs. A list of the names and codes of the proposed MPAs is provided in Table 1.
The identification and selection of MPA sites is primarily a 'science-led' process. However, socio-economic evidence can be considered in Ministers' decisions as to whether to designate specific sites, particularly where several different alternatives may make a similar ecological contribution to the MPA network. Socio-economic evidence can also be taken into account in determining the management approaches adopted for individual MPAs.
The study aims to assess the potential economic and social effects of the proposed suite of NC MPAs in Scottish offshore and territorial waters. The four Search Locations are not assessed. The assessment investigates the potential cumulative economic benefits and costs, and associated potential social impacts, of designating each individual proposed NC MPA. It also considers the potential economic benefits and costs, and associated potential social impacts of designating the suite of MPA proposals as a whole.
The assessment will provide Marine Scotland with evidence on economic and social effects to inform a Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment ( BRIA) for each NC MPA, and a Sustainability Appraisal for the suite of proposals as a whole.
|Inshore Sites||Code||Offshore Sites||Code|
|Clyde Sea Sill||CSS||The Barra Fan & Hebrides Terrace Seamount||BHT|
|East Caithness Cliffs||ECC||Central Fladen||CFL|
|Fetlar to Haroldswick||FTH||Central Fladen (core)||CFL (core)|
|Loch Creran||LCR||East of Gannet & Montrose Fields||EGM|
|Loch Sunart||LSU||Faroe-Shetland Sponge Belt||FSS|
|Loch Sunart to the Sound of Jura||SJU||Firth of Forth Banks Complex||FOF|
|Loch Sween||LSW||Geikie Slide & Hebridean Slope||GSH|
|Lochs Duich, Long and Aish||DLA||Hatton-Rockall Basin||HRB|
|Monach Isles||MOI||North-east Faroe-Shetland Channel||NEF|
|Mousa to Boddam||MTB||Norwegian Boundary Sediment Plain||NSP|
|North-west Sea Lochs & Summer Isles||NWS||North-west Orkney||NWO|
|Noss Head||NOH||Rosemary Bank Seamount||RBS|
|Papa Westray||PWY||South-east Fladen||SEF|
|Small Isles||SMI||South-west Sula Sgeir & Hebridean Slope||SSH|
|South Arran||ARR||Turbot Bank||TBB|
|Upper Loch Fyne & Loch Goil||LFG||West Shetland Shelf||WSS|
|Wyre and Rousay Sounds||WYR||Western Fladen||WFL|
1.2 Aims and Objectives
The aim of this contract is to generate evidence on the potential economic costs and benefits and social impacts  of designating the individual NC MPA site proposals, and of designating the proposed suite of NC MPAs as a whole.
Up to 33 potential areas  for MPAs have been identified by SNH and JNCC. Of these 33 proposals, SNH and JNCC advise that at least 29 are needed to adequately represent search features in the network. Some of the 33 site proposals are science-based alternatives to the features of recommended MPA proposals, whilst other proposals are of equivalent ecological value for the same combinations of features (see Box 1). As it is not possible to pre-judge the outcome of Ministers' decisions on which sites to consult on, this study takes the assumption that 33 potential areas will require impact assessments and site-based assessments will be completed for all 33.
A further four MPA Search Locations will not be fully assessed against the Guidelines on the Selection of MPAs and Development of the MPA Network prior to public consultation in 2013. These Search Locations (which primarily relate to mobile features) are viewed by SNH and JNCC as being likely to yield sites that would be integral parts of the MPA Network. However, the available scientific evidence is currently insufficient to allow them to be assessed against the guidelines.
South-West Sula Sgeir and Hebridean Slope vs. Geikie Slide and Hebridean Slope
- The proposed protected features within the South-west Sula Sgeir and Hebridean slope MPA proposal, and the Geikie Slide Hebridean slope MPA proposal, are considered to offer an equivalent contribution to the MPA network. This means that JNCC would recommend only one of these two proposals needs to be designated to meet the MPA Selection Guidelines.
Central, Western and South-east Fladen
- JNCC have identified science-based alternatives to the representation of one component of burrowed mud (seapens and burrowing megafauna) within the Central Fladen MPA proposal. These are Western and South-east Fladen. JNCC recommend that the southern part of the Central Fladen MPA proposal would need to be designated ( CFL (core)) as it represents a different component of burrowed mud (the tall sea pen). However, there are options around the representation of seapens and burrowing megafauna and this could come from including the rest of Central Fladen OR Western Fladen OR South-east Fladen.
- Central Fladen (core) would be designated under all options - the alternatives relate to the designation of the additional CFL area, which does not incorporate CFL (core) in this assessment.
Firth of Forth Banks Complex, Turbot Bank and Norwegian Boundary Sediment Plain
identified science-based alternatives to the representation of
the ocean quahog within Firth of Forth Banks Complex (Norwegian
Boundary Sediment Plain) and sands and gravels and shelf banks
and mounds within Firth of Forth Banks Complex (Turbot Bank).
Turbot Bank is also identified in its own right for sandeels.
There are therefore several scenarios:
- If Firth of Forth Banks Complex is not designated, then sands and gravels and shelf banks and mounds will need to be added to Turbot Bank as well as sandeels and Norwegian boundary sediment plain will also need to be designated for ocean quahog;
- If Firth of Forth Banks Complex is designated, then Turbot Bank will be recommended for sandeels only and Norwegian boundary sediment plain will not be required to be designated.
The study has involved an analysis for each individual site, plus analysis for the suite of sites overall. In order to achieve this aim, the study has been taken forward to deliver the following objectives for assessments of each individual MPA site proposal:
- Building on evidence gathered by SNH and JNCC, identify the activities  taking place in proposed MPA sites;
- Building on draft conservation objectives and feature management analysis developed by SNH and JNCC for the features contained within proposed sites for designation and using the Scottish MPA Project sensitivity matrix, identify the activities that could be affected by designation of each proposed site as an MPA, and how they may be affected;
- Identify and estimate the costs, where possible, to potentially-affected activities arising from designation proposals, specifically from potential management requirements arising from conservation objectives proposed for each individual site;
- Identify, describe and quantify, where possible, the potential benefits to marine activities, associated with designation of each individual site as an MPA;
- Identify any communities and social groups that may be adversely or positively affected by designation proposals, and quantify the scale and costs of such impacts where possible;
- Estimate the costs to Government associated with designation of sites as MPAs, including (but not limited to) additional management, monitoring and enforcement requirements, along with potential benefits; and
- Identify, describe and quantify the potential costs and benefits to society as a whole associated with designation of each individual site as an MPA.
The contract has also sought to deliver against the following objectives for the assessment of the suite of NC MPA proposals as a whole:
- Based on the individual MPA impact assessments, estimate the aggregate costs of designation of the suite of MPA proposals to potentially-affected marine activities, communities, social groups and Government;
- Assess the extent to which aggregate negative impacts and costs may be increased or offset as a result of cumulative factors ( e.g. displacement of fisheries activities; economies of scale in monitoring and enforcement);
- Based on the individual MPA impact assessments, identify, describe and quantify the potential aggregate benefits from designation of the suite of MPA proposals to marine activities, communities, social groups and society; and
- Assess the extent to which aggregate positive impacts are increased or offset as a result of cumulative factors, and the extent to which additional benefits are generated through designation of the suite of MPA proposals.
This contract has been concerned solely with analysis of the economic and social effects of proposals for designating NC MPAs. Analysis of other forms of MPA envisaged by the Marine (Scotland) Act, such as Historic MPAs, is beyond the scope of this project. Similarly, analysis of existing types of MPAs ( e.g. Special Areas of Conservation) or the overall effects of the 'complete' MPA network ( i.e. the NC MPAs, plus pre-existing MPAs) is also considered out of scope. Environmental or ecological assessment of sites is also beyond the scope.
Analysis has been based on existing and available evidence, and quantified as far as possible. New primary data collection or primary research is considered out of scope. This means that gathering new statistical evidence for values of sectoral activities is beyond the scope of this contract, along with gathering new evidence on the ecosystem services associated with features protected through NC MPAs. Undertaking new valuation studies of non-market goods and services ( e.g. through use of contingent valuation or choice experiment methodologies) is also beyond the scope of this project.
1.3 Project Oversight
The contract has been managed by the Scottish Government. A Project Steering Group ( PSG) was established, comprising members of Marine Scotland, JNCC, SNH, and the Scottish Government SEA team. The purpose of this group has been to advise the project team, facilitate access to required data and evidence, comment and sign off on project outputs. In addition, a Project Advisory Group ( PAG) was convened, which included national representatives of potentially affected marine industries, environmental NGOs, and other national and strategic stakeholders.
While the study has been taken forward working closely with Scottish Government, the views expressed aren't necessarily those of Scottish Ministers.
1.4 Structure of Report
The report is structured as follows:
- Section 1: Introduction - this section;
- Section 2: Methodology;
- Section 3: Cost Impacts to Human Activities;
- Section 4: Costs to Public Sector;
- Section 5: Distribution of Economic Costs and Consequent Social Impacts;
- Section 6: Benefits;
- Section 7: Assessment of Combined Impacts; and
- Section 8: Discussion and Conclusions.
In addition, a series of Appendices present background information on the analysis, and the site-specific assessment results by MPA, as follows:
- Appendix A: Reporting template for MPA site assessments;
- Appendix B: Assumptions used to define feature extents under lower, intermediate and upper scenarios;
- Appendix C: Sector-specific descriptions and methodologies;
- Appendix D: Matrix of ecosystem services for MPA features;
- Appendix E: MPA site reports;
- Appendix F: List of stakeholders contacted.