The Scottish Government has opened a consultation on the creation of a deep sea marine reserve in the West of Scotland, as part of the Scottish Marine Protected Area (MPA) network. The government's vision for the marine environment is of clean, healthy, safe, productive and diverse seas, managed to meet the long-term needs of nature and people.
If taken forward to designation, the site would be underpinned by the powers in the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009. In legal terms, the reserve would have the same status as the other existing MPA’s in offshore waters.
The Scottish Government hopes the reserve, if designated, would help meet international commitments to protect the marine environment in the North-East Atlantic, as required under the OSPAR Convention. Ten of the identified habitats and species in the West of Scotland area are on the OSPAR threatened and/or declining list.
The consultation, which closes on 31 December 2019, seeks views on the case for designating the West of Scotland as a deep sea marine reserve, in particular:
- The scientific case for the designation of the West of Scotland area
- The conservation objectives and potential management advice
- The potential environmental and socio-economic impacts of West of Scotland area
Source: Scottish Government, 27 September 2019