Government urged to protect coastal habitats

Starney Bay in St Abbs
Starney Bay in St Abbs

A coalition of environmental charities says coastal communities such as Berwickshire will suffer if the Government fails to properly manage Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

Members of Scottish Environment LINK say a long-term approach to management will boost the viability and sustainability of Scotland’s fisheries, by protecting precious inshore habitats. They criticised Government plans which aim to protect only smaller patches of seabed from activities such as scallop dredging and bottom-trawling within some MPAs.

Calum Duncan, Convenor of Scottish Environment LINK’s marine taskforce and Scotland Programme Manager, Marine Conservation Society said: “We are simply saying: ‘Don’t Take The P’ - the protection - out of MPAs, and the campaign is gaining wide support. These inshore MPAs and Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) account for approximately 13 per cent of Scotland’s territorial waters, but current plans are to prohibit scallop dredging and prawn-trawling from around a quarter of that. We need to reverse the damage to our seabed and the precious ecosystems it supports. Without proper management, our coastal villages and towns risk missing out on benefits of sustainable fisheries and a healthier marine environment. We urge people to call upon the Government to rethink its approach.”