Wild seaweed harvesting: strategic environmental assessment - environmental report

Investigates the sustainability and potential environmental impacts of wild seaweed and seagrass harvesting, maerl extraction and removal of beach-cast seaweed.

11. Cumulative Effects

11.1.1. The Act requires the consideration of cumulative and synergistic environmental effects that may arise from licensing wild harvesting in conjunction with other plans, programmes and policies.

11.1.2. The policy context within which licensing decisions is set by the National Marine Plan. The National Marine Plan provides the over-arching marine planning policy framework. This includes policies relating to activities where the marine planning and terrestrial systems overlap, for example those which occur on and around the coast or in coastal waters, such as aquaculture.

11.1.3. A review of the environmental policy context is provided in Section 3.15 .

11.1.4. However other plans, programmes and policies for which there could be cumulative effects include the Sectoral Marine Plans for wind, wave and tidal energy in Scottish Waters, regional marine plans and policy for seaweed cultivation.

11.1.5. Table 15 provides a summary of the likely effects of licensing decisions for wild harvesting on the environmental topic areas scoped into the assessment, and how these are likely to act together with other plans, programmes and policies. A cumulative risk level is also included in the risk matrix, which indicates the highest risk across all SEA topics.

11.1.6. The focus of any regulation for wild harvesting is to ensure it is only undertaken where sustainable. The principles of sustainable development and protection of Scotland's marine environment are also key threads of wider Scottish policy ( e.g. the National Marine Plan, Scottish Biodiversity Strategy). Regulation of large-scale wild harvesting activities therefore provides a means to mitigate potential negative environmental impacts.

Sumary of Cumulative Effects

11.1.7. On the whole, this SEA and the consideration of potential cumulative and synergistic effects demonstrate how the nature and extent of any potential impacts depends on the method and scale of harvesting, and the composition and sensitivity of the corresponding marine ecosystems. It also demonstrates the interdependence of licensing, the seaweed industry and its stakeholders, the processes currently in place, and the combined role that they will need to play to ensure the sustainable growth of wild harvesting industries into the future.

Table 15: Summary of likely cumulative environmental effects with wider marine policy and planning

Environmental Topic

Cumulative Effects of Licensing

Cumulative Effects with Other Plans, Programmes and Policies

Biodiversity, Flora and Fauna

Demonstration of biodiversity, flora and fauna considerations at consenting stage and mitigation where necessary.

Supporting good practices and sustainable harvesting in the wild may complement wider biodiversity objectives and have long-term benefits in the management of natural seaweed stocks and the ecosystems they service.

A consenting mechanism helps ensure that wild harvesting is sustainable and therefore any adverse effects on biodiversity, flora and fauna in-combination with other plans, programmes and policies will be mitigated.

Climatic Factors

Demonstration of mitigation measures against potential wave and coastal process impacts where necessary.

A consenting mechanism helps ensure that wild harvesting is sustainable and therefore any negative effects on climatic factors in-combination with other plans, programmes and policies will be mitigated.


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