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.

Summary of the evolving MPA network

The evolving MPA network in Scotland's seas includes 46 Special Areas of Conservation (and another possible SAC), 45 seabird colony Special Protected Areas, 61 Sites of Specific Scientific Interest, and 8 fisheries management areas (see Annexes B to E and Figures 7, 8, 9 and 10 for full lists and maps of these existing measures).

33 Nature Conservation MPA proposals have now been developed and a further 4 MPA search locations remain to be fully assessed.

27 of the Nature Conservation MPA proposals and 4 of the MPA search locations are for multiple species and habitats. Were every one of these proposals taken forward for designation, the new MPAs would represent 12% of the area of Scotland's seas, taking the total of all types of marine protected area to over 20%.

Of the 41 MPA search features listed in the MPA Selection Guidelines at the start of the process, 38 would be accounted for by the Scottish Natural Heritage and Joint Nature Conservation Committee proposals. Work to offer suitable spatial protection to the three remaining features, basking shark, white-beaked dolphin and common skate, will continue.

The key overall objective of the MPA network is to safeguard our most important natural and cultural heritage features in Scottish waters based on the principle of sustainable use.

Reef and urchins, Solan Bank SAC


Back to top