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Marine Protected Areas

Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are recognised globally as one way to support our marine environment. A well-managed network of MPAs will protect important marine habitats and species, deliver benefits for our marine environments, support coastal communities, help sustain marine industries, and provide for recreational uses. Developing a network of MPAs in Scotland is part of a wider strategy to achieve the Government's commitment to a 'clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse marine and coastal environment that meets the long term needs of people and nature'.

Scotland's MPA network

Scotland's existing MPA network consists of over 180 designated areas. The network includes Nature Conservation MPAs,  Special Areas of Conservation (SACs), Special Protection Areas  (SPAs), and Sites of Special Scientific Interest  (SSSIs). This network of MPAs make a significant contribution to the protection of Scotland's nationally important marine wildlife, habitats, geology and undersea landforms.

Developing the MPA network

To strengthen the existing MPA network, Scottish Ministers recently designated a suite of  Nature Conservation Marine Protected Areas (NCMPAS). Using powers granted through the Marine (Scotland) Act external site and the Marine and Coastal Access Act, these designations reinforce the existing network and introduce much needed spatial protection for a wider range of marine wildlife, habitats and geology, previously not represented in the network.

Further information

More information on Scotland's important marine habitats and wildlife is available under coasts and seas and Priority Marine Features .



Last updated on Thursday 24th July 2014 at 10:24 AM. Click here to comment on this page