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Image: Peter Flood

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Marine Protected Areas doubled to tackle Scotland’s sealife declines

WDC has welcomed today’s decision by the Scottish government to double the number of areas it will protect in the seas around Scotland. In a bold move, Cabinet Secretary Richard Lochhead gave the go-ahead for 30 new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) as well as paving the way for urgent new protected areas for struggling populations of whales and dolphins.

Members of Scottish Environment LINK’s marine taskforce, which includes WDC have campaigned for stronger protection of Scotland’s sealife for over a decade. Late last year, the Scottish government requested the public’s views on the proposed network of marine protected areas and over 14,000 people responded asking for more ambitious protection of sealife in Scotland. Nearly half of these public response came from WDC supporters alone!

Today’s announcement also signals a new Scottish government resolve to potentially provide protection in critical habitats for nationally important mobile species such as, minke whales and Risso’s dolphins.

WDC’s Sarah Dolman said: “Having provided the evidence and demonstrated huge public support for protection of important whale, dolphin and porpoise habitat, it’s great news that minke whales and Risso’s dolphins are now proposed to be included in the Scottish MPA network. With the right management in place, MPAs in conjunction with wider measures, will help to protect Scotland’s precious whale and dolphin populations.”

This news today adds another important piece in the jigsaw puzzle of marine conservation. We await news from governments around the UK about designation of harbour porpoise Special Areas of Conservation, which are required before the MPA Network can be complete.

Watch the video that WDC created to support this campaign: