Our seas are six times the landmass of Scotland, over 460,000 square kilometres of some of the most productive and diverse resource in the world. Whilst we have been planning for land use for decades, marine planning is a relatively new concept, introduced in Scotland through the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010.
The adoption of this first National Marine Plan marks an important step in the implementation of that legislation.
This Plan provides a comprehensive overarching framework for all marine activity in our waters. It will enable sustainable development and use of our marine area in a way which will protect and enhance the marine environment whilst promoting both existing and emerging industries.
The National Marine Plan Online website and the spatial data hosted on NMPi will ensure the National Marine Plan is a living document where relevant updated planning information is available to all.
I would like to take this opportunity to recognise and acknowledge the commitment and input from a wide range of stakeholders throughout the development of this Plan - from pre-consultation to Parliamentary scrutiny, it has been inspiring to see so many play their part in this process.
It is a strength of the marine planning process, and the way in which it has developed in Scotland, that a range of stakeholders have managed to work together to support implementation and ensure it is informed by diverse perspectives.
Publication of this single framework for managing Scotland's seas marks the beginning of a long-term commitment to protect our seas for future generations.
Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment