Scottish Highly Protected Marine Areas consultation

Sophie Law

The Scottish Government have launched a consultation about how Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) will contribute to the vision of marine environment being clean, healthy, safe, productive, diverse and managed to meet the long term needs of nature and people. 

The Scottish Government is committed to realising this vision and seeking your views and comments which will help to shape and inform how this is done.

Through the Bute House Agreement, Scottish Ministers have committed to designate at least 10% of Scotland’s seas as HPMAs by 2026. These sites will provide high levels of protection by placing strict limits on some human activities, such as fishing and aquaculture, while allowing non-damaging recreational activities to take place at carefully managed levels.

Mairi McAllan MSP, Minister for Environment and Land Reform said;

"In Scotland, we are understandably proud of our natural environment, whose beauty, richness and diversity is emblematic of our national identity.  We also all recognise the urgency of action to address the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. So, it is right that we lead the way in creating a coherent network of these protected areas for our most valuable ecosystems that will extend from our coasts to our deep seas. Protecting and enhancing our marine environment by taking these actions is key to transforming the way we use our seas and manage our ‘blue’ resources. Our vision for shared stewardship of the blue economy requires us to make these investments. They are needed to ensure we truly maximise the benefits the sea can deliver to all of Scotland’s society, and to live within sustainable limits." 

Scotland's seas are some of the most biologically diverse in Europe, supporting thousands of plant and animal species, across a wide variety of habitats. But we are facing twin biodiversity and climate crises and have to act now in order to support the recovery and resilience of our marine environment.

See the full consultation here, it is open unitl 20th March 2023.

Online sessions are running during this consultation for queries relating to the draft Policy Framework and Site Selection Guidelines. 
For more information, please visit our 
website; section 'Get involved and keep updated.’