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Proposal for a Marine Protected Area for the Waters around Fair Isle
13 January 2012

Proposal for a Marine Protected Area for the Waters around Fair Isle

For the last year members of the Fair Isle community have been preparing a proposal for a Marine Protected Area around Fair Isle. This document has now been completed and sent to the Scottish Government.

It puts forward Fair Isle’s case for a Demonstration and Research Marine Protected Area (MPA) within the Scottish MPA network as outlined in the Scottish Marine Bill (2010). The executive summary is repeated here. We hope it will encourage you to investigate the full MPA Proposal document, which is available as a pdf file on the FIMETI website.

“The proposed MPA is intended to serve three purposes:

• to trial a series of management measures, supplemented by interpretation and dissemination, which demonstrate the role of MPAs in delivering fully sustainable marine management;
• to demonstrate the relationship between a fully functioning marine environment and the socio-economic stability of peripheral coastal communities;
• to meet a requirement of the Council of Europe in the form of a condition on the renewal of the Council of Europe Diploma for Fair Isle.

The suitability of Fair Isle stems from its rich marine environment, a considerable amount of biological and physical data already amassed and cooperative studies with academic institutions already under way. Above all, Fair Isle Bird Observatory Trust, assisted by the public purse, has invested heavily in a new building with excellent research facilities; and the community is fully in favour of and keen to support the MPA development. It is anticipated that sustainable management of the marine resource will bring many benefits. For the isle it means making full use of the research facilities on offer, the potential for development and extension of marine-related economic activities of benefit to all stakeholders, bringing Fair Isle’s marine values to a wider audience to the benefit of tourism and allied ventures, and strengthening services, facilities and transport systems. For Scotland it offers the chance to address knowledge gaps while piloting measures of wide benefit to other coastal communities which depend on maintenance and enhancement of an essential socio-economic resource in the form of tourism, interpretation, education, heritage protection, recreation and sustainable economic use of the sea.

The main body of text (Chapters 1 to 4) outlines the suitability of Fair Isle for a Demonstration and Research MPA, including the rationale, aims and objectives, feasibility, local and national values and benefits accruing and the various actions, activities and practicalities associated with the planning and implementation process. An outline work programme is also offered, though the isle accepts that a partnership approach incorporating input from government, academic institutions and stakeholders will be necessary to draw together the most effective and targeted programme.

A series of Appendices follow which give much greater detail in support of the proposal. They comprise an evaluation of the many nature conservation and cultural heritage qualities, socio-economic values, scientific information and research base, research facilities, benefits and the community attitudes, efforts and skills which qualify Fair Isle for a MPA. Maps to support the proposal appear at the end of the document.”




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