Publication - Consultation analysis

Planning Scotland's Seas: Possible Nature Conservation Marine Protected Areas. Consultation Analysis Report

Published: 2 May 2014
Part of:
Marine and fisheries
ISBN:
9781784124199

Planning Scotland’s Seas: Possible Nature Conservation Marine Protected Areas was published for consultation in July 2013. It set out proposals for a number of new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Independent analysis of written consultation responses was

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117 page PDF

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Contents
Planning Scotland's Seas: Possible Nature Conservation Marine Protected Areas. Consultation Analysis Report
3 The MPA Network

117 page PDF

869.3 kB

3 The MPA Network

3.1 The marine environment of the North-East Atlantic is protected under the OSPAR Convention (The Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment of the North-East Atlantic) which was signed by 15 countries and the European Union. The Convention covers the prevention and elimination of pollution and protection against adverse effects from human activities, although fisheries and shipping are not covered by OSPAR. Other international commitments include the World Summit on Sustainable Development, the Convention on Biological Diversity and the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

3.2 Scotland's seas fall within three OSPAR Regions: Region II (Greater North Sea), Region III (Celtic Seas) and Region V (wider Atlantic).

3.3 At present Scotland's seas have 46 Special Areas of Conservation, 45 seabird colony Special Protected Areas, 61 Sites of Specific Scientific Interest in the marine environment, and 8 fisheries management areas.

3.4 The consultation looked at 33 possible MPAs (p MPA) some or all of which will along with the measures above, form an MPA Network giving protection to over 23% of Scotland's marine environment. In addition, four search locations are still being assessed. The proposed MPAs are listed in Appendix 3.

Support for an MPA network

3.5 The first question in the consultation asked 'Do you support the development of an MPA network in Scotland's Seas?' and Table 3.1 shows the responses.

3.6 A campaign questionnaire containing questions on the South Arran MPA also asked about support for an MPA network but was worded slightly differently: 'Do you support the development of an MPA network in Scotland's Seas with 3 MPAs in the Clyde?' A small number of respondents submitted campaign plus [2] responses based on this questionnaire and are included in the count of standard responses. Ten respondents in the 'yes' column in Table 3.1 (eight individuals, one recreation / tourism and one local group) answered this version of the question, as did one individual in the 'no' column.

3.7 In addition, not all respondents used the tick box form; some gave their answers in a more free-flowing format such as a letter. Where respondents did not tick a box but mentioned within their comments support for or opposition to an MPA network, these responses have been included in the 'yes' and 'no' counts below.

3.8 As can be seen in the following table, most respondents (257) supported the development of an MPA network in Scotland's seas. Few (12) said that they did not and these respondents came from the individual and mobile fishing groups.

Table 3.1

Whether support the development of an MPA network in Scotland's Seas

Yes

No

Other comments

No reply

Individuals (216)

184

10

18

4

Academic / Scientific (3)

3

-

-

-

Aquaculture (5)

1

-

4

-

Energy (10)

4

-

5

1

Environment / Conservation (20)

19

-

1

-

Industry / Transport (5)

3

-

-

2

International fisheries (5)

1

-

-

4

Local authority (12)

6

-

3

3

Local coastal partnership (2)

2

-

-

-

Local group (12)

11

-

-

1

Mobile fishing (16)

4

2

8

2

Public sector (10)

6

-

-

4

Recreation / Tourism (9)

8

-

1

-

Static fishing (3)

2

-

-

1

Other (4)

3

-

-

1

Total (332 standard responses)

257

12

40

23

3.9 The respondents counted in the 'other comments' column had a range of views. Instead of outright support, many of these respondents gave support with a proviso and their suggestions or concerns are discussed later in this chapter. In addition, several respondents commented that they support the principle of MPAs; these respondents came from the energy, marine fishing, aquaculture and local authority sub-groups. A small number of respondents implied their support or lack of support rather than stating it outright.

3.10 Finally, a small number simply commented without giving an indication of support or otherwise. These included some of the respondents who did not address the consultation questions directly; these responses are included in the 'no-reply' column in the table above and chart below.

3.11 The following charts shows support and opposition to the development of an MPA network from standard responses, both overall and by respondent type.

Chart 3.1

Whether respondents support the development of an MPA network in Scotland's Seas (Base: 332)

Chart 3.1 Whether respondents support the development of an MPA network in Scotland's Seas (Base: 332)

Chart 3.2

Whether respondents support the development of an MPA network in Scotland's Seas (Base: 332)

Chart 3.2 Whether respondents support the development of an MPA network in Scotland's Seas (Base: 332)

3.12 As detailed in Chapter 2, all of the campaign texts included some form of support for an MPA network.

Overall, of the 14,703 responses, over 99% supported an MPA network:

- a very small number (12) did not support an MPA network;

- almost all (14,628) supported an MPA network;

- a small number (63) did not comment on support or opposition;

3.13 Full details of support for a network are given in Table 3.2.

Table 3.2

Total support for an MPA network in Scotland's Seas

Support

I fully support Marine Protected Areas ( MPAs) for seabirds but I'm disappointed that the Scottish Government's proposed network of MPAs fails to include feeding areas for the majority of Scotland's iconic seabird species [and variations]. (seabird campaigns)

1,626

I fully support a Scottish MPA network and what the government is proposing is a good first step. But a coherent MPA network must include sites for whales and dolphins. (whales and dolphins campaign)

6,262

I fully support a Scottish MPA network and what the government is proposing is a good first step. Thank you for developing an MPA network that we hope will be well managed and world-leading. (whales and dolphins campaign)

365

I firmly support the development of an MPA network in Scotland's seas. Of the 33 MPA proposals in the consultation, I want to see at least the 29 ecologically best choice sites designated as nature conservation Marine Protected Areas in line with scientific advice. (network campaign)

2,615

I support the proposals for a network of Marine Protected Areas in Scotland's inshore and offshore waters, but believe more must be done to protect, connect and actively recover the health of our seas, which has suffered long-term decline over many generations (network campaign)

662

I support the development of a network of MPAs in Scotland's seas. I believe the proposed Nature Conservation MPAs must be designated in line with scientific advice, and be supported by effective management that ensures the conservation and recovery of marine ecosystems. (network campaign)

1,526

Yes to 'Do you support the development of an MPA network in Scotland's Seas' or 'Do you support the development of an MPA network in Scotland's Seas with 3 MPAs in the Clyde' (South Arran campaign)

589

I agree with the location and designation of the proposed South Arran Marine Protected Area as part of an ecologically coherent network of Clyde and Scottish MPAs. (South Arran campaign)

726

Support (standard responses)

257

Total

14,628

Key themes

3.14 The key themes that emerged from standard responses on an MPA network are outlined in the following paragraphs.

3.15 Many of the respondents who commented at this question stressed the need for protection for the marine environment. Many, especially individuals, used words such as vital and essential to describe their support for an MPA network.

3.16 Respondents commented that it this will protect the seas for generations to come; that it is welcomed but it has been a long time coming; and that it is welcome, as it will halt damage that has been done to the environment and fish stocks. Examples included:

"The protection of these sensitive and environmentally diverse areas is essential to the long-term health of the seas around Scotland." (individual)

"[the respondent] asserts that the creation of this MPA network is the most important marine conservation measure in Scotland's history." (environment/conservation)

3.17 The importance of the network in improving biodiversity and recovering a sustainable inshore fishery was stressed. Many respondents also welcomed measures to protect against trawling and dredging which were seen as causing harm in many areas; although there were also several who opposed this view.

3.18 A small number felt that the proposed network was not as extensive as they would wish. Others, mainly from the fishing interests, felt the sites should only cover locations where the protected features exist, rather than a geographical area, and that more work on identifying these locations is required.

3.19 Protection for seabirds across the MPA network featured in campaign responses and in many responses from individual respondents at this question.

3.20 While many organisations commenting at this question supported an MPA network, again words such as essential were used, several (mainly from energy, aquaculture, mobile fishing and local authorities) said that while they support the principle, they have reservations about the proposals. These reservations included comments on designation, management options and socio-economic effects:

  • The need to ensure a science-based approach to designation.
  • The need for full data before designation.
  • The need to consult on and agree management options before designation.
  • The need to ensure management options do not cause any adverse socioeconomic effects on local communities.
  • For management options to take account of the need for energy provision.
  • The need for fish production to be allowed to continue and to develop in appropriate areas, including in MPAs, for example:

"It is important to make the point in this consultation that we have existed for many years, operating in a fully sustainable manner under the terms of existing regulations. Our company would like to ensure that we will be able to continue to operate and develop by ensuring we continue to be both economically viable and technologically up to date, while taking account of the species and features that are offered protection under the MPA scheme" (aquaculture).

Summary

Almost all of the 14,703 responses included support in some form for an MPA network. Specific protection was requested for seabirds and for whales and dolphins.

Many commented on the need to ensure a science-based approach to designation and many stressed the need for good management to ensure adequate protection for the environment and to prevent unnecessary impact on marine users.


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