This report provides an assessment of emerging evidence on the socio-economic impacts of Scotland's Marine Protected Areas ( MPA) since new management measures were introduced on 8 February and 23 March 2016. These new management measures, affect fishing activity in a number of MPA sites. Other marine users were already affected by the protective provisions of the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 since MPA were designated in August 2014. For Special Areas of Conservation ( SACs) the provisions of Article 6 of the EU Habitats Directive have applied to other marine activities since designation. Scottish Ministers committed to monitor and report on the socioeconomic impacts of management measures, in order that appropriate actions can be taken to mitigate any severe impacts on marine users and to support emerging opportunities.
Approximately 20% of Scotland's sea area is protected under a number of regulatory frameworks  . This report focuses on the first tranche of management measures for ten MPAs that are governed under the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 and ten inshore Special Areas of Conservation ( SAC) that are governed under the EU Habitats Directive. It should be noted that some of these sites overlap. These are shown in Figure 1.
Scotland's MPAs and SACs have been established to meet ecological objectives; to conserve marine features, including bio-diversity (species and habitats) and marine geo-diversity (the variety of landforms and natural processes that underpin marine landscapes). At the time of MPA and SAC designation, activities for a number of sectors were restricted. Fisheries management measures were introduced at a number of sites in February and March 2016 which restrict certain fishing gears in either the whole conservation area or specific zones within the conservation area (see Annex 1). In most cases, fisheries management measures have been introduced to conserve or recover areas/species found in each MPA or SAC.
These new management measures along with the original affect activities of marine users and are likely to have socioeconomic impacts. This report provides an assessment of these impacts of all management measures. In the remainder of this report, the original measures and the new fisheries measures for both MPAs and SACs are jointly referred to as ' MPA management measures'.
There are no direct social or economic objectives for MPAs and SACs under the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 or the EU Habitats Directive. The MPA management measures to protect ecological features are, however, likely to have a range of indirect socioeconomic impacts on a variety of marine users and communities.
Figure 1: Spatial distribution of Scotland's MPAs
This report seeks to identify positive and negative socioeconomic impacts that have been observed following the introduction of MPA management measures. It provides Scottish Ministers with evidence of ex post or observed socioeconomic impacts of MPA management measures across sites in Scotland. The specific objectives are:
- To develop a methodology for monitoring the socioeconomic impacts of MPA management measures; and,
- To gather and analyse evidence on the ex post socioeconomic impacts of MPA management measures.