Special Marine Protected Areas (Consultation)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 3rd April 2019.

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Photo of Pauline McNeill Pauline McNeill Labour

8. To ask the Scottish Government whether it will provide an update on its plans to consult on the outstanding special marine protected areas. (S5O-03093)

Photo of Mairi Gougeon Mairi Gougeon Scottish National Party

The Scottish Government is currently preparing consultations in two areas, both of which could be covered by the member’s question. First, there is to be a supplementary consultation on the strategic environmental assessment for the classification of special areas of protection for seabirds. Secondly, there is to be a consultation on the designation of four additional nature conservation marine protected areas for mobile species. Both consultations will be launched shortly after the Easter recess.

We are currently consulting on two new historic marine protected areas at Bressay Sound and Scapa Flow. That consultation is open and will run until 17 April.

Photo of Pauline McNeill Pauline McNeill Labour

Will the minister clarify that that work will include consultation on massive deep water marine protected areas? As she knows, Rockall basin will single-handedly double the size of the marine protection network.

Will she also assure me that that consultation will be well under way so that we see conclusions before the end of this parliamentary session?

Photo of Mairi Gougeon Mairi Gougeon Scottish National Party

That is certainly the intention behind launching the consultations in the Easter recess. We want to ensure that we have as wide engagement as possible.

I will probably have to catch the member at another time about the first part of her question. We have proposals for a deep sea reserve—I do not know whether that is what her first point related to. I will happily write to her with more details about that.