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A sea change in the law

The wealth of marine life and priceless geological features in Scotland's coastal waters are at risk from activities such as fishing and mining. A legal tweak could turn the tide.

Crabs on seafloor

Much-needed measures to safeguard Scotland’s endangered sea life and vulnerable coastal habitats must seek to reconcile the concerns of conflicting interest groups, experts say.

Plans to upgrade Scotland’s network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) with exclusion zones that prohibit potentially harmful activities must balance conservation, commercial and leisure needs. Legal researchers are calling for the introduction of so-called strictly protected MPAs that ban practices including fishing, fish farming, mining and dredging in fragile coastal environments. A shared policy programme outlined recently by the Scottish Government and Scottish Green Party appears to be sympathetic to any such approach, but the experts say more detail is needed.

The Saving our Seas through Law project – a collaboration between Edinburgh Law School and the Community of Arran Seabed Trust (COAST) – is calling on politicians to act urgently and with sensitivity.

Read the full story on Edinburgh Impact

Related links

Marine life at risk without stricter protection, experts warn (The Scotsman, 3 October 2021)

Image credit: © Howard Wood