Council approves responses to Scottish Government consultation on the future of Scotland’s seas.
The Scottish Government is consulting local authorities on Scotland’s first National Marine Plan (NMP) and proposals for a new network of marine conservation Marine Protected Areas (MPAs)
The National Marine Plan aims to provide a single framework to guide sustainable use and development of Scotland’s waters.
Argyll and Bute Council has welcomed the plan and supports its objectives and the marine planning policies which will ensure the sustainable development of our key economic growth sectors – aquaculture, fishing, marine renewables, tourism and transport. In turn this will allow for job creation in Argyll and Bute’s remote, fragile, rural, coastal and island based communities.
The proposals for a new network of nature conservation MPAs look to increase protection for a range of Scotland’s marine habitats and species.
The council is in no doubt as to the environmental quality and diversity of Argyll and Bute’s coastal and inshore waters and their economic value as a resource, making it vital that this prime asset is used sustainably through appropriate management and protection.
Five inshore areas of Argyll and Bute have been included in the consultation – Upper Loch Fyne and Loch Goil, Loch Sween, Loch Sunart to the Sound of Jura, Loch Creran and the Clyde Sea Sill – as well as two areas just out-with Argyll and Bute – the Loch Sunart and South Arran – which are considered of interest to our coastal communities.
Policy Lead for Sustainable Environment, Renewables and Strategic Tourism, Councillor Vivien Dance, said, ‘’ It was reassuring to see that the vision, objectives, challenges, and policy guidance detailed in the draft plan are consistent with the council’s current policy and priorities and we have made a number of recommendations to further improve the policy framework, which will provide greater clarity and consistency between marine and terrestrial policy.’’
‘’While the council welcomes the ambitious set of objectives and priorities identified in the NMP, it does have concerns over whether Marine Scotland will be able to effectively implement and monitor the plan and oversee the development of regional marine planning within existing resources and we will continue to engage in discussions on such matters.’’
‘’Regarding the proposed MPAs, while the council supports the principles of MPAs, it is vitally important that the right balance is struck between environmental protection and socio-economic impact on marine activities and coastal communities and we will continue to highlight our concerns to Marine Scotland.’’