While the identification of Marine Protected Areas ( MPAs) is a science-led project, it necessarily involves a large degree of stakeholder engagement. Marine Scotland and the project partners are committed to engaging with stakeholders throughout the process, particularly those who have interest in or may be affected by MPA proposals. Stakeholder input is and will continue to be sought in providing information used to support the recommendations on the location of MPAs and conservation objectives, as well as highlighting options for potential management measures for any MPAs in their activity area.
The development of the MPA network and use of powers to designate MPAs is being undertaken in dialogue with marine stakeholders. The Marine Strategy Forum, which represents national marine interests, is the main forum for strategic level engagement on MPA network development. Further discussions with marine sectors provide opportunities to discuss the network design process in more detail.
In the early stages of network development, work focused on data collection, awareness raising and provision of updates. Existing forums, sectoral meetings and various media were used to reach a range of organisations and other interested parties and to encourage feedback. A series of 5 national level stakeholder workshops provided over 18 months an opportunity for stakeholder interests to input information and influence the design of the network, including proposed alternatives.
Third party Proposals
The Marine (Scotland) Act provides for anyone, referred to in this context as a third party, to submit proposals for Demonstration & Research and/or Nature Conservation MPAs within territorial waters.
A total of 27 proposals for third party Nature Conservation MPAs were received. Many of the third party Nature Conservation MPA proposals overlap with existing search locations and others are being taken forward as part of the overall process and have been put through the same guidelines. 12 proposals met all the relevant guidelines and have been recommended for further consideration, and have contributed to the development of eight Nature Conservation MPA proposals. A further three have contributed to the development of 3 of the remaining MPA search locations. Another 3 proposals have had their assessment delayed / deferred to enable completion of further work by SNH in 2013. 12 proposals were not recommended for further consideration as these proposals could not meet the test of importance or were not considered to make a significant contribution to the network for the features they were proposed for. The status of each proposal is shown in the accompanying network advice from SNH and JNCC, and a summary found can be found below in Figure 3.
Any future proposals from a third party will be accepted but may not be considered until the next review of the network in 2018.
2 Demonstration & Research MPAs have been received, and are currently being assessed for inclusion in the network.
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