Scottish Highly Protected Marine Areas: consultation

Scottish Highly Protected Marine Areas(HPMA): consultation

Scotland has an existing Marine Protected Areas (MPA) network which covers 37% of our seas and includes sites of various designations: Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), Special Protection Areas (SPAs), Sites of Scientific Interest (SSSIs) and Marine Protected Areas (including MPAs for Nature Conservation as well as Historic MPAs and Demonstration and Research MPAs).

The approach to designating and managing HPMAs, rather than being feature based (as described above for MPAs), will be to strictly protect and leave undisturbed, all natural processes of the marine ecosystem within HPMA site boundaries, including the seabed, water column habitats and everything that lives in the protected area.

HPMAs will aim to add to the established MPA network by:

  • facilitating ecosystem recovery and enhancement
  • enhancing the benefits that coastal communities and others derive from our seas
  • contributing to the mitigation of climate change impacts
  • supporting ecosystem adaptation and improving resilience

Currently, the Scottish Government does not have the necessary legal powers to designate and protect HPMAs. The intention is to deliver the necessary legislative and management framework for HPMAs in both Scottish inshore and offshore waters.

The Scottish Government is committed to realising their vision of the marine environment being clean, healthy, safe, productive, diverse and managed to meet the long term needs of nature and people.

Your responses will help to shape and inform how they do this.

For more information and part in the consultation here

The consultation closes on Monday 20 March 2023