A careful balance of marine conservation, fishing and offshore wind, wave and tidal energy projects in Scottish waters needs to be found and Marine Scotland were at Eyemouth’s fishermen’s mission last week to hear local views prior to the Scottish Government setting up the country’s first National Marine Plan by 2016.
Thirty-three sites around the seas of Scotland, including the Firth of Forth Banks Complex, located 15 nautical miles offshore, are being considered as possible Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the recently launched consultation. The sites have been put forward to protect a wide range of wildlife and habitats, from coral gardens and flame shell beds to ocean quahog, a clam-like animal that can live for over 400 years.
The MPA proposals are part of a wider consultation being run by Marine Scotland covering Scotland’s first National Marine Plan, as well as plans to help guide the future of offshore renewable energy. The National Marine Plan builds on existing management regimes to provide one, comprehensive framework for all activity which takes place in Scottish waters. The Draft Sectoral Plans for Offshore Renewables identify options for offshore wind, wave and tidal energy developments to harness the massive energy potential of Scotland’s seas. This consultation provides everyone with an interest in our marine environment a chance to help us protect and make the best sustainable use of our seas.