Is this the shape of things to come for MPAs in Scotland? (click on the pic below for full size image)
Marine Scotland have released a map of proposed search locations that may end up as MPAs under the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010.The explanatory documents, available here highlight that this could be the shape of things to come for the proposed network that will exist in parallel to existing EU designations. This will be subject to discussion at the next MPA workshop on 27th and 28th June where the overall shape of the network (and if it is actually considered to be a network) will be hammered out.
The areas in green represent locations that work is being undertaken to identity features of interest (i.e they are called priority marine features). By the end of 2012 these features should be identified and proposed MPA designations that cover said features are in place. The areas in purple are progressing, but will not be ready by the end of 2012. I suspect the purple areas also represent areas of potential conflict as they are located in proximity to coastal communities or sites of major renewable energy interest.
There is considerable coverage of the west coast of Scotland, incorporating several third party proposals. While management discussions are a long way off, it is considered the 'elephant in the room' at these events, and no doubt will be discussed. Management of each site will depend on the features present and the MPA FAQ indicates a 'presumption of activities continuing within a MPA providing the conservation objectives can be met.' Closed areas appear off the agenda for now.... but we will report back.
If you have any questions you want asked at the meeting... leave a comment on the blog and we'll do our best.