Your say on special protection for marine birds
7th July 2016
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) is inviting views on plans to protect some of our most important coastal areas for marine birds.
A public consultation launched today (Monday) by SNH on behalf of Scottish Government is asking people to comment on a suite of proposed Special Protection Areas (pSPAs).
The 10 pSPAs are spread around Scotland's coast at locations including the Moray Firth, Orkney, Shetland and the Hebrides. The proposals are designed to help a wide range of marine bird species, by protecting their important areas such as foraging grounds and places where they roost. Species set to benefit include Sandwich terns and little tern, black-throated, great northern and red-throated divers, Slavonian grebe, velvet scoter, red-breasted merganser and European shag.
The consultation gives people the opportunity to share their views on each of the proposed designations: on topics such as the featured bird species, the scientific evidence and options for site management.
Scotland's 11,800 km of coastline and 800 islands make it an ideal place for marine birds and it is home to some important populations. Shetland, for example, hosts over a third of the British population of breeding red-throated diver and, the Moray Firth attracts many species of sea duck that migrate thousands of miles to spend winter in our seas.
Andrew Bachell, SNH's director of policy and advice said: "Scotland is an incredibly important place in the world for marine birds. Our seas and marine birds are a unique and exciting part of nature and attract many thousands of people to visit Scotland every year. We want to protect these areas to help the marine birds, and to ensure that they are safeguarded for the benefit of generations to come."
The consultation will run for 12 weeks until 26 September. For detailed information about each of the proposals, and to respond to the consultation, visit the SNH website - www.snh.gov.uk/marinebirdSPAs
Cormorants at Wick
Photographer - Bill Fernie