Good news! The Scottish Government has announced the designation of a new Deep-Sea Marine Reserve off the west coast of Scotland.
It will be the largest Marine Protected Area (MPA) in the North-East Atlantic (located in national waters), covering over 100,000 sq km. and reaching depths of 2.5km. It will safeguard vulnerable habitats and species, protecting the entirety of the Anton Dohrn seamount and deep sea sharks.
However, whilst this news is welcome there is much more that needs to be done to protect vital sites for basking sharks, minke whales, Risso’s dolphins and seabirds in our coastal waters.
Further action is urgently needed to designate four proposed Nature Conservation MPAs (ncMPA); sites first proposed by HWDT, WDC and CRRU in 2011, and based on data collected on board our research vessel, Silurian.
Several years after the Scottish Government received scientific advice to designate these four ncMPAs, and following repeated promises to designate these sites in the last three Programmes for Government (PfG), we are still waiting.
In 2019, HWDT responded to a long-awaited Scottish Government consultation on these proposals – as did many others - highlighting strong public support. In September, together with members of Scottish Environment LINK, we wrote to the Cabinet Secretary to seek assurance that these promised sites will be designated.