The new Marine Protected Area (MPA) Monitoring Strategy will provide a long-term approach to monitoring Scottish waters, ensuring that detailed information is collected from the MPA network to create a more accurate picture of the health of marine environments.
It will also encourage collaborations between marine stakeholders and coastal communities, which will better coordinate existing monitoring activities.
The strategy is supported by a new three-year project funded by the European Maritime Fisheries Fund which will offer opportunities for fishermen to gather monitoring data, which will improve the SNP Government’s understanding of marine habitats and the effectiveness of MPA management.
Kenneth Gibson said:
“Marine Protected Areas cover some of our most vulnerable marine environments with many people and communities taking an interest in their protection.
“A well-managed MPA network requires a focused monitoring programme, which is why I welcome the development of this strategy which clearly sets out the SNP Government's long-term direction and recognises the important role that local coastal communities and stakeholders can play in its delivery.
“With 31 Nature Conservation MPAs added to the network in recent years, including South Arran and the on-going implementation of fisheries management measures, this strategy shows just how seriously we take our duty to protect Scotland’s rich marine environment and is providing a clear direction for the future.”
The Scottish Marine Protected Area Monitoring Strategy is available to view here.
The SNP Government has developed the strategy in partnership with Scottish Natural Heritage and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee.
Information is available here regarding the European Maritime Fisheries Fund project.