Report to the Scottish Parliament on Progress to Identify a Scottish Network of Marine Protected Areas

This reports on which sites are currently included in the MPA network and outlines progress on Nature Conservation MPAs, Historic MPAs, and Demonstration and Research MPAs.


Adequate - The conclusion reached when the coverage of an MPA search feature within the Scottish MPA network meets the five parts of Stage 5 of the MPA Selection Guidelines: representation, replication, geographic range and variation, linkages and resilience. If all parts of the Stage 5 guidelines are met then the Scottish MPA network is assessed as adequate for that feature.

Cetacean - In simple MPA terms, the collective term for any marine mammal in the family of whales, dolphins, and porpoises.

Connectivity - Measure to which component MPAs in the network, and the features which they support, are connected to one another.

Ecologically coherent - OSPAR states that an ecologically coherent network of MPAs:

i. Interacts with and supports the wider environment;

ii. Maintains the processes, functions and structures of the intended protected features across their natural range;

iii. Functions synergistically as a whole, such that the individual protected sites benefit from each other in order to achieve the other two objectives.

Ecosystem services - Ecosystem services are processes by which the environment produces resources utilised by humans, such as clean air, water, food and materials.

Essential areas for key life cycle stages - this applies to mobile species such as basking sharks and cetaceans. Essential areas are considered to include habitats known to be important for example, for feeding, reproduction and nursery stages. The focus of work on MPAs is on these essential areas considered to be persistent over time.

Habitat modelling - The process involves using data on different environmental variables ( e.g. depth, slope, chlorophyll concentrations etc.) to understand more about the importance of an area for mobile species. The most significant variables can then be used to clarify why animals are in an area and / or better predict where they might be.

Insignificant - In relation to Nature Conservation MPAs, Section 82 of the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 requires public authorities to exercise any function capable of affecting (other than insignificantly) any protected feature in a manner which helps achieve the stated conservation objectives for the site. These principles also apply at the MPA network level. Determining whether an impact is 'insignificant' is a judgement which will need to be made in each case.

Mobile species - Any of the features that are not static or low mobility species. For Nature Conservation MPAs these are basking shark, common skate, minke whale, Risso's dolphin, white-beaked dolphin, black guillemot, European spiny lobster, blue ling, orange roughy, and sandeels,.

MPA search feature - Features are the collective term for species, habitats and geology we are looking to protect in the MPA network that we do not believe have enough current protection. Before we knew where the MPA proposals would likely be, these same features were known as 'search features' as these are what were being searched for.

MPA search location - An area that is identified as a result of the application of the Stage 1 guidelines. An area remains a search location until it passes through Stage 4 of the guidelines.

MPA proposal - The term MPA proposal refers to the package of advice submitted to Scottish Ministers outlining the case for the designation of an MPA. There will be a public consultation on each MPA proposal.

OSPAR - The Convention by which fifteen Governments of the western coasts and catchments of Europe, together with the European Community, cooperate to protect the marine environment of the North-East Atlantic.

Representation The MPA Selection Guidelines state that the sustainable use, protection and conservation of marine biological diversity and ecosystems mean areas which best represent the range of species, habitats and ecological processes (for which MPAs are a suitable measure) should be considered for inclusion in MPAs. Representation will be assessed primarily at the scale of Scotland's seas, with consideration given to the contribution to wider networks, particularly the UK.

Replication - Replication of features in separate MPAs in each biogeographic area is desirable where it is possible in order to contribute to the aims of the network. The Scottish MPA Selection Guidelines state that replication will be met if there is more than one example of each feature within the Scottish MPA network.

SACs - Special Areas of Conservation which protect habitats and species listed on the EC Habitats Directive, such as reefs, sandbanks and bottlenose dolphin.

Sensitivity - The degree to which species or habitats are resilient and resistant to pressure.

SPAs - Special Protection Areas, which protect wild birds listed on the EC Birds Directive, such as red-throated diver and common scoter.

SSSIs - Sites of Special Scientific Interest, which protect nationally important habitats, species and geological features and generally fall above the mean low water mark.

Third-party proposal - An MPA proposal submitted by a coastal community or marine interest group (essentially anyone other than the partners of the Scottish MPA Project e.g. Marine Scotland, SNH, JNCC, Historic Scotland and SEPA).


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