Urticina felina cluster and Nermertesia sp. and sand covered bedrock. Sanday SAC. Photographer: Malcolm Thompson. © SNH. All rights reserved. Please contact CMEU for details - snhmarinephotos@nature.scot

Scottish Marine Protected Area advice

Explore the formal advice from Scottish Natural Heritage on the selection of Nature Conservation Marine Protected Areas in Scotland’s seas.

Advice on completing Scotland’s MPA network

Following a request from Marine Scotland, we have now completed an assessment of four MPA proposals, Sea of the Hebrides, North-east Lewis, Shiant East Bank and Southern Trench.

Alongside other features, we are recommending that minke whale, Risso’s dolphin and basking shark are considered as proposed protected features for the MPA proposals because these areas support aggregations of these species and are important for feeding, socialisation and breeding.

Our view is that these four MPAs would make a significant contribution towards fulfilling Scotland’s international commitments for establishing an ecologically coherent network of MPAs, as well as fulfilling commitments under the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010.

    Adequacy of Scotland’s MPA network

    Read the Assessment of the adequacy of the Scottish MPA network for MPA search features

    View the results of a 2015 assessment of the Marine Protected Area (MPA) search features against stage 5 of the MPA Selection Guidelines.

    The assessment against this guideline has been completed for the MPA search features in terms of how the below have been met for these features:

    • representation
    • replication
    • resilience
    • range and geographic variation of features
    • key linkages

      Sensitivity of European Marine Sites to fishing

      Read the Assessment on the sensitivity of EMS to fishing activities

      In February 2014, SNH provided advice to Marine Scotland on the sensitivity of European Marine Sites (EMS) to the impacts of fishing activities. The aim was to help Marine Scotland work out where further management may be required.

      NCMPA consultation advice report

      Read SNH’s advice on selected responses to the 2013 Marine Scotland consultation on Nature Conservation Marine Protected Areas: Commissioned Report No. 747

      In 2013, we recommended the designation of all 17 NCMPAs proposed for Scottish territorial waters, i.e. within 12 nautical miles of Scotland’s coast.

      Our advice covers a wide range of issues such as:

      • principles of network design
      • use of evidence
      • boundary setting
      • determining conservation objectives
      • site-specific issues
      • future management of MPAs

      Selection of NCMPAs

      Read Advice to the Scottish Government on the selection of Nature Conservation Marine Protected Areas for the development of the Scottish MPA network: Commissioned Report No. 547

      Provided in 2012, our advice was later included in a Scottish Government report to the Scottish Parliament on progress towards identifying a network of MPAs in Scotland.

      Find out more

      Selection of Nature Conservation Marine Protected Areas in Scotland