NatureScot Commissioned Report 620: Validation of seabed habitat MPA search feature records relating to the South Arran Nature Conservation MPA
A suite of Nature Conservation Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) has been developed across Scottish waters based on the presence of key habitats, species and large-scale features of functional significance (collectively termed MPA search features). The MPAs include several developed from proposals submitted in 2012 by local coastal communities, recreational marine users and environmental interest groups. One such third-party proposal, encompassing waters off the south of Arran in the Clyde Sea, was submitted by the Community of Arran Seabed Trust (COAST). The current study was undertaken to validate records of seabed habitat MPA search features included within the third-party proposal but not held by NatureScot. The validation exercise was undertaken using available underwater photographs, video and volunteer diver data recording forms. The findings of the work informed SNHs subsequent detailed assessment of the South Arran area against the MPA Selection Guidelines. This report was re-issued in July 2014 (initially published in 2013) following a review of the South Arran MPA evidence-base undertaken in response to concerns raised during the 2013 formal public consultation on the MPAs. Details of the refinements made, which include the addition of a new ‘evidence’ annex displaying the photographs and recording forms for relevant validated records (to improve transparency in the decision-making process) are outlined at the start of the report.
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