SFF HPMA proposals greenwashing

SFF chief, Elspeth Macdonald has called the Government’s HPMA proposals a greenwashing exercise. Photo: Scottish Fishemen’s Federation

The Scottish government has launched a consultation paper on Highly Protected Marine Areas.

Through the Bute House Agreement, Scottish Ministers have committed to designate at least 10% of Scotland’s seas as Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) by 2026, a move that is being met with strong feelings in the fishing industry.

The government says that the consultation is seeking views and comments on a number of key documents that propose how HPMAs will contribute to the new vision of how the marine wildlife and seas around Scotland are protected, something that has been called “greenwashing” by the leader of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation.

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Reacting to the Scottish Government’s proposals for Highly Marine Protected Areas (HPMAs), Elspeth Macdonald, chief executive of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation, said:

“HPMAs are an exercise in government greenwashing. There is no justifiable scientific rationale for their introduction or any evidence whatsoever that they will achieve their very vague aims.

“They will inevitably have a significant impact in further squeezing fishing vessels out of large areas of sea – 37% of Scottish waters are already protected under the existing MPA network.

“MPAs aim to strike a balance between conservation and sustainable harvesting, whereas HPMAs will exclude fishing altogether. HPMAs will also exclude most other types of activity, resulting in even greater pressure for marine space in other areas.

“The speed at which the Scottish Government intends to bring in these restrictions – first signalled out of the blue, without any consultation, in the Bute House Agreement – is totally unsuitable relative to the scale of the potential impact on fishing.

“The fishing industry has no objection to meaningful conservation and indeed has been an active and supportive partner in developing the MPA network, but it is vitally important that we understand what we are conserving and why, and how we assess the contribution of restrictions to the objectives in question.

“The HPMA process is prioritising political objectives over good policy-making and decision-taking.”

Source: Press Release

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