Conservation groups urge ministers to complete network of Marine Protected Areas

Written by Liam Kirkaldy on 2 January 2018 in News

Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust and WWF Scotland call on ministers to end the wait for consultation on further MPAs

Image credit: PA

Scotland’s seas will be left at risk unless ministers take urgent action to complete the network of the Marine Protected Areas (MPA), conservation groups have warned.

The Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust and WWF Scotland urged ministers to end the wait for consultation on further MPAs, with Dr Charlotte Hopkins, marine research scientist at the University of Glasgow, warning that “The oceans are facing unprecedented threats from plastic pollution, overexploitation and the impacts of climate change”.

She said: “MPAs alone will not solve these global challenges. However, when effectively managed to reduce human pressures they are a crucial component in maintaining healthy marine ecosystems.”

The Marine Act was passed by the Scottish Parliament in 2010, with the network covering approximately 20 per cent of the sea around Scotland.

Esther Brooker, Marine Policy Officer at WWF Scotland said: “While acknowledging the good work that has already been carried out since the Marine Act was passed in 2010, we now believe the final pieces of the MPA jigsaw must be put in place to complete the network. This means delivery of crucial measures to manage damaging activities in existing MPAs, and designation of more sites for species not currently covered in the network.

“By doing so the Scottish Government will not only be safeguarding iconic species such as the charismatic, but much declined, harbour seal and life-giving habitats such as seagrass, they will also be protecting the thousands of jobs that rely on us having healthy seas.”

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