The Highland Council is encouraging individuals, businesses, and community groups to have their say about the Scottish Governments plan for new protections for the marine environment in the form of Highly Protected Marine Areas.
Scottish Ministers have committed to designate at least 10% of Scotland’s seas as Highly Protected Marine Areas (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.
Chair of The Highland Council’s Economy and Infrastructure Committee, Councillor Ken Gowans said:
“The process is currently at an early stage with no locations for suggested sites having been proposed yet.
“However, it is understood that as and when HPMA sites are proposed that they may well be within the inshore area bordering Highland’s coastline.
“This may have implications for local businesses and communities, especially those who rely on making a living from fishing, aquaculture, and marine tourism activities.
“Now is the time to raise concerns and make your views known.
“The Highland Council intends to provide a response to this consultation, and I would encourage all other interested parties to do so too.”
The Scottish Government are seeking views on the proposed framework, site selection criteria and accompanying impact assessments.
Consultation on these matters runs until April 17 2023.
The consultation can be accessed here: https://consult.gov.scot/marine-scotland/scottish-highly-protected-marine-areas/