We were asked to provide advice to Marine Scotland to inform a scoping opinion of Marine Biopolymers' proposal for large scale mechanical kelp harvesting. As it is currently written, we are unable to provide this advice. Kelp plays a vital role in providing habitats for juvenile fish, protecting coasts from erosion, and carbon storage. The report does not currently provide enough detail for us to advise on how to assess the environmental impacts of the proposal on this important marine habitat.
Our full response to Marine Scotland suggests that the proposal could be re-worked to incorporate a phased approach to harvesting, where impacts are monitored and addressed in a smaller area before plans are scaled-up. We explain what information we need to provide our advice, for example the specific locations in which they plan to harvest and how they will monitor for any disturbance to habitats and wildlife. If Marine Biopolymers were to redraft their proposal, we would revisit the subject and make a recommendation then.