The Scottish Marine Bill is now the law of the land, or better said, the 'law of the water', at least out to 12nm and maybe in future 200nm although that still needs to be worked out between Holyrood and Westminster. The bill, passed last week by the Scottish assembly in Edinburgh, includes new powers to select and manage Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Scotland’s seas, and to manage the various competing uses of the seas from fishing to marine renewables to wildlife tourism and the protection of biodiversity in what will hopefully be a coherent marine plan. After years of work on every aspect of this bill, there was a lot of hand-shaking going on and pats on the back but, as always, the proof of the value will come with the implementation. A special note of thanks must go to Scottish Environment Link, the umbrella body representing 34 environmental organizations in the UK including WDCS, that worked hard to give a voice to Scotland’s amazing marine wildlife. Now we need some proposals that will truly inspire the world — perhaps a Great Barrier Reef-scale marine park or MPA that gives wildlife the protection and place in our hearts that it deserves?!
Wednesday, February 10. 2010