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Nature Conservation Marine Protected Areas Management Handbook

Marine Scotland have been having meetings with a large number of representatives of the various organisations and interests who have been involved in the MPA identification process to gather comments on the handbook. The purpose of the handbook is to provide general guidance on how management needs of all components of the Marine Protected Area (MPA) network will be assessed, and how requisite management measures will be developed and implemented as required. This is being done with the aim of implementing any required measures by the end of 2016.

The purpose of this handbook is to provide guidance on how management needs of Nature Conservation Marine Protected Areas (NC MPAs) will be assessed and how any required measures will be developed and implemented.  It will also describe the duties of public authorities  in relation to NC MPAs and provide policy guidance on how to comply with these.

BACKGROUND

Scottish Ministers have a duty to create a network of Marine Protected Areas.  This duty is given by the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010  for territorial waters and the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009  for the Scottish offshore region (referred to jointly as the Marine Acts).

In order to comply with the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive  requisite management measures required for MPAs should be implemented by 2016, although our aim will be to introduce measures as soon as possible after designation of any NC MPA.  This will also contribute to the OSPAR Commission's strategic objective  to halt and prevent by 2020 further loss of biodiversity in the OSPAR maritime area.

The MPA network will consist of MPAs designated under the Marine Acts as well as other existing types, such as those designated under the EU Wild Birds  and Habitats  Directives as well as other area-based measures.  However this handbook will only consider the management of NC MPAs.

This guidance should also be considered in the context of the Scottish Government's Marine Nature Conservation Strategy  which outlines a 3 pillar approach comprising species protection, site protection and wider seas measures.  Some protected features of NC MPAs may not require site-specific management measures due to other approaches being taken.  Others may require MPA management measures and/or additional action through species and / or wider seas measures such as marine licensing.

The five guiding principles for sustainable development as detailed in the Scottish Planning Policy  also apply to management of NC MPAs.  The five principles are - living within environmental limits, ensuring a strong, healthy and just society, achieving a sustainable economy, promoting good governance, and using sound science responsibly.

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