NatureScot Commissioned Report 599: Distribution and status of proposed protected features in the Fetlar to Haroldswick MPA proposal
This report presents the findings of benthic survey work undertaken within the Fetlar to Haroldswick possible Nature Conservation Marine Protected Area (pMPA) in September 2012. The aim of the work was to validate the continued presence, extent, and status of specified proposed protected features and their wider distribution within the pMPA. Using divers, remote video, and grab sampling, a team from Heriot-Watt University and NatureScot surveyed the high energy marine environment and spectacularly clear waters of the area. The team validated and added to records of rich horse mussel beds and maerl beds in the inner part of the pMPA, though some formerly recorded horse mussel beds could not be re-located. The team also surveyed an exceptionally dense field of slender seapens and wide expanses of sands with diverse infaunal communities. The Fetlar to Haroldswick area is part of a wider suite of 33pMPAs distributed across Scottish waters that are the subject of a formal consultation process being run over the summer 2013 by the Scottish Government.
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