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Scottish Marine Protected Areas Project

The Scottish MPA Project is an ongoing joint initiative between Marine Scotland, JNCC, Historic Environment Scotland, SEPA and Scottish Natural Heritage.

In July 2014, Scottish Ministers designated a suite of Nature Conservation Marine Protected Areas (NCMPAs) using powers granted under the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 and Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009.

These NCMPAs cover over 10% of Scotland’s seas and provide protection for a wide range of important marine habitats and wildlife, geology and geomorphology.

Read about each of our Nature Conservation Marine Protected Areas.

Find out about the 13 offshore NCMPAs created in 2014 on the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) website.

Completing Scotland’s MPA network

We submitted our formal advice to Scottish Government in July 2014 advising on the second tranche of proposed NCMPAs to complete the network.

If designated, the additional four NCMPAs will protect:

  • important areas on Scotland’s west coast for basking sharks, minke whales and Risso’s dolphins
  • seabed habitats around the Shiant Isles

View Scottish MPA advice to see our formal advice and the data confidence assessments for each of the four proposed NCMPAs.

Our role in the project

Scottish Natural Heritage provides guidance and technical advice to Marine Scotland on NCMPAs.

This includes advice on:

  • selection of NCMPAs
  • how the conservation objectives of an MPA may be achieved
  • ways to avoid damaging a protected feature

Learn about the link between OSPAR and the Scottish MPA Project.

Stakeholder involvement

The Scottish MPA Project is an ongoing joint initiative between:

  • Marine Scotland
  • JNCC
  • Historic Environment Scotland
  • Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)
  • Scottish Natural Heritage

The project has also involved:

  • public consultation – including more than 50 local engagement events
  • analysis and consideration of more than 14,000 consultation responses
  • Marine Strategy Forum discussions
  • MPA stakeholder workshops
  • meetings with stakeholder representatives, marine user groups, council elected representatives and staff

We continue to work with marine users to identify appropriate management measures for individual NCMPAs.