This report provides an assessment of emerging evidence on the socio-economic impacts of Scotland’s Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). The reports 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. This report presents evidence from key informant interviews, analysis of fishing activity data and three case studies.
Questions this practice may help answer
- What are the positive and negative socioeconomic impacts that have been observed following the introduction of MPA management measures?
- How compliant are marine users with the management measures associated with the MPAs?
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.
Aspects / Objectives
- develop a methodology for monitoring the socioeconomic impacts of MPA management measures
- gather and analyse evidence on the ex post socioeconomic impacts of MPA management measures
This report presents evidence from key informant interviews, analysis of fishing activity data, in addition to aquaculture, fish processing and marine tourism, and three case studies of the South Arran and Wester Ross MPAs and the East Mingulay Special Area of Conservation (SAC).
The case studies gathered site specific evidence on the impacts of individual MPAs on businesses and communities linked to the South Arran MPA in the Firth of Clyde, Wester Ross MPA in the North West Highlands and East Mingulay SAC in the Inner Minch off the Island of Barra. Case studies comprised of interviews with local stakeholders and businesses on observed socioeconomic changes in their communities that they could link to the introduction of MPA management measures. Marine Scotland also collected evidence to identify or map hotspots of immediate and potential changes in fishing activity and other socioeconomic changes linked to MPA management measures. Data collection at each site took place over three to four days. Questionnaires were used to collect data and to map observed changes in specific areas. Evidence gathering at each site focused on themes that Marine Scotland identified as most prominent from the analysis of evidence from key informant interviews as follows:
- South Arran MPA: sought to gather evidence on changes in fishing effort and to explore emerging opportunities for tourism and community groups. Interviewees providing evidence on tourism were based on Arran, whilst interviewees providing evidence on fishing effort were based in Troon and Campbeltown.
- Wester Ross MPA: focused on assessing changes in fishing patterns and the extent of displacement of fishing effort. It also explored projects and activities that local community groups were undertaking linked to MPAs. Interviews took place in Ullapool and Gairloch.
- East Mingulay SAC: focused on assessing changes in fishing patterns and impacts on onshore fish processing to test suggestions that reduced landings, of mainly Nephrops, had impacted on the availability of supplies to local fish processing businesses. Interviews for this case study took place on the Isle of Barra.
Main Outputs / Results
The report suggests that there is no evidence to-date of significant socioeconomic impacts that could be attributed to the introduction of MPA management measures. However for many sectors, it was observed that it may be too early to conclude positive or negative effects.
This report of socioeconomic impacts of MPAs in 2016 proposes that Marine Scotland continues to monitor the socioeconomic impacts of MPAs on all sectors and commissions another evaluation of the socioeconomic impacts of MPA management measures in 2018 to allow time for the various marine sectors to adapt. Six indicators are proposed to track the socioeconomic impacts of MPAs between now and 2018 on two priority sectors: fishing and onshore processing. Ongoing monitoring should provide evidence to inform if an earlier evaluation is needed and for Scottish Ministers to respond to any significant changes occurring between now and 2018.
The report of the review is available online at: http://www.gov.scot/Resource/0051/00514589.pdf
The report presents an analysis which specifically focusses on the implementation of an MPA network in Scotland, however the process used for undertaking socioeconomic impact assessment of management measures is interesting and could be relevant elsewhere, including within the context of marine spatial planning.
Costs / Funding Source
Marine Analytical Unit
Marine Scotland Science
Telephone: +44 (0)31 244 5500