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3 Dec 2020

Scotland’s largest conservation charity supports new marine protections

Dozens of gannets fly over the sea, close to the shore of St Kilda.
The National Trust for Scotland has welcomed the announcement by the Scottish Government and Marine Scotland that an additional 12 marine sites around Scotland have been given Special Protection Area status.

The Trust cares for significant stretches coastlines and islands, such as Fair Isle, Canna and St Kilda. We have long advocated additional protections to ensure the wellbeing and recovery of Scotland’s sea habitats in order to sustain the marine and avian species that depend upon them and, ultimately, to mitigate against climate change.

The seas around St Kilda are one of the new areas receiving special protection status.

“The Trust welcomes the announcement of 12 new marine Special Protected Areas and 4 new Marine Protected Areas. These will help protect and conserve our marine environment and bird populations.”
Stuart Brooks
Head of Conservation and Policy

Stuart continued: ‘For example, the new Seas off St Kilda SPA will strengthen protections for the marine foraging area and prey on which the millions of seabirds that St Kilda is famous for depend upon. The new MPAs will also enhance protection for species like basking sharks and Rosso’s dolphins, as well as protect marine geological features.

‘However, we strongly encourage the Scottish Government to go further to fully protect our seas and wildlife for current and future generations. To function effectively, SPA and MPA designations must be supported by strong management plans and appropriate investment. There must also be adequate enforcement of existing restrictions in protected areas.

‘The Trust is also concerned that the proposed SPAs around Scapa Flow and the area north of the Orkney mainland have not been taken forward. We encourage the Scottish Government to work to progress these sites to protect wintering bird populations as well as the feeding grounds of bird populations in the North East.

‘We’re acutely aware that existential threats still exist to protected areas – such as the proposals by MOWI to establish a potentially damaging large-scale salmon farm in the Sound of Canna – and we hope today’s announcement heralds a new determination to ensure such threats are minimised.’

Canna seen from the sea on a calm sunny day. The island is reflected in the smooth water.

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