South Arran MPA approved by Scottish Parliament

The Community of Arran Seabed Trust (C.O.A.S.T.) reports 10th February 2016: Representatives from coastal communities, scallop divers, sea anglers and  conservation organisations showed their passion and support for MPAs at Holyrood last month, coinciding with a Rural Affairs Committee debate on the future of MPAs.

To the delight of thousands of MPA supporters on Arran and throughout Scotland, the committee voted against a motion to annul MPAs by Jamie McGrigor (cons) MSP by seven votes to two.

COAST’s Andrew Binnie comments: ‘The Scottish Government’s refusal to buckle to scaremongering from the mobile prawn lobby means the South Arran MPA came into effect on 8th February 2016 along with legislation for a further 13 MPAs including the St Kilda World Heritage Site MPA. We are celebrating on Arran this week and looking forward to healthier and more productive seas around Arran and Scotland. This will benefit all marine stakeholders and future generations’.

Mr Lochhead, the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs also announced that the Wester Ross and Loch Sunart to Sound of Jura Marine Conservation Orders went before parliament on 5th of February, meaning they will come into effect in late March.

Disappointingly, the Small Isles MPA will go back out to consultation and will now be delayed until at least the summer. COAST urges MPA supporters to keep the pressure on the Government to establish a credible Small Isles MPA as soon as possible and to move quickly forward with legislation for the second group of MPAs.

The South Arran MPA prohibits scallop dredging but still allows bottom trawling in outer areas of the MPA. Apart from in the existing small No Take Zone in Lamlash Bay sea angling is permitted within the entire area as well as all other recreational activities.

Source: COAST, 10th February 2016.

Marinet observes:
Whilst Marinet has not seen a management plan for the South Arran MPA, the map of the MPA (see South Arran MPA link above) reveals that fishing is now regulated and managed within the MPA, restricting trawling, and even creating a no-take zone in Lamlash Bay. This suggests active management.

If this is correct, then the Scottish Government is to be congratulated for this is in marked contrast to English MPAs where management plans are very threadbare, and in the case of English Marine Conservations Zones non-existent. The Westminster Government needs to take note, and needs to dedicate itself to serious management initiatives. The trouble is, will it?

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