A NUMBER of Scotland’s leading wildlife tourism businesses are calling on the Scottish Government to do more to protect and restore Scotland’s seas.
Representatives of more than 20 organisations have sent a joint letter to Fergus Ewing, Scotland’s Minister for Tourism, highlighting the substantial economic benefits provided by the country’s most fragile ecosystems and demanding the establishment of a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) along Scotland’s coast.
The letter, coordinated by Scottish Environment LINK, states: “Around £100 million is spent in Scotland by coastal wildlife tourists annually, and £63 million by marine wildlife tourists.
“This creates vital jobs, income and opportunities for many of Scotland’s most fragile rural communities. Visitors travel from all around the world to enjoy our spectacular wildlife, including our globally important seabirds, whales and dolphins. We want to ensure this continues.
“Our businesses rely on Scotland’s reputation as a spectacular wildlife watching destination, which in turn depends on the protection you provide to our iconic marine life.”
Steve Sankey, who runs Orcadian Wildlife, a tour firm on Orkney, said: “My business and many others rely on wildlife, so we call upon the minister to show his support for Marine Protected Areas and ensure a healthy future for both my family’s livelihood and Scotland’s seas.”