Iconic species protected by marine designations

3 December 2020

NatureScot has today welcomed the designation of 12 Special Protection Areas (SPAs) and four Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Scotland’s seas.

The announcement made by Minister for Rural Affairs and Natural Environment Mairi Gougeon gives additional protection to much-loved marine species including basking shark, minke whale and Risso’s dolphin as well as 31 species of marine birds such as great northern diver, Slavonian grebe, long-tailed duck, Arctic tern and kittiwake, bringing the coverage of the Scottish MPA network to 37%.

Eileen Stuart, NatureScot’s Interim Director of Nature and Climate Change, said: “The designation of these new sites sees some of our most iconic marine species - such as basking shark, minke whale and Risso’s dolphin included in the MPA network as well as foraging areas for internationally important populations of seabirds, divers and sea ducks. 

“The Scottish MPA network now covers 37% of our seas, marking significant progress towards meeting global ambitions for marine conservation and ensuring a nature-rich future for Scotland, as well as offering locations where people can engage with and experience world-class wildlife.

“We are committed to working with others to ensure the MPA network and our wider seas are well-managed and monitored so that they can contribute to addressing the decline in nature, and help build resilience in the face of climate change.”