consultation paper Scottish HPMAs

Minister for Environment and Land Reform, Mairi McAllan has launched a consultation paper on Scottish Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs)

Minister for Environment and Land Reform, Mairi McAllan MSP has launched a consultation paper on Scottish Highly Protected Marine Areas.

The Scottish Government’s vision for the marine environment is for clean, healthy, safe, productive and diverse seas, managed to meet the long term needs of nature and people. 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. These sites will provide high levels of protection by placing strict limits on some human activities, such as fishing and aquaculture, while allowing nondamaging recreational activities to take place at carefully managed levels.

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This consultation is seeking views and comments on a number of key documents that propose how HPMAs will contribute to this vision. The closing date for the consultation is 20 March 2023.

In relation to the consultation, Minister McAllan says:

“As Minister for Environment and Land Reform, I am delighted to be consulting with you on what Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) in Scotland should look like, how they should be selected and implemented, and how they will affect our lives.

“In Scotland, we are understandably proud of our natural environment, whose beauty, richness and diversity are emblematic of our national identity. We also all recognise the urgency of action to address the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. So, it is right that we lead the way in creating a coherent network of these protected areas for our most valuable ecosystems that will extend from our coasts to our deep seas.

“Protecting and enhancing our marine environment by taking these actions is key to transforming the way we use our seas and manage our ‘blue’ resources. Our vision for shared stewardship of the blue economy requires us to make these investments. They are needed to ensure we truly maximise the benefits the sea can deliver to all of Scotland’s society, and to live within sustainable limits.

“There is still a vast amount of work to be done before we are ready to propose the location of HPMAs. With your help, we can ensure the right policy and legal frameworks are in place; supported by clear guidelines on how to identify the ecosystems that merit protection.

“I am determined that those who may be affected by these proposals are involved from the outset. Our seas must remain a source of economic prosperity for the nation, especially in our remote, coastal and island communities. That is why I want to hear what you think. I want to take on board your concerns and your ideas. I want you to help shape the creation of these highly protected areas.”

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