Marine mission

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Your article “MPs: marine protection plans ‘left to flounder’” (11 April) reflects a common misunderstanding of marine policy in a devolved United Kingdom.

The creation of marine conservation zones will affect primarily English waters.

Warnings by the UK Science and Technology Committee are well placed and your newspaper is right to flag that “as a result of delays in the designation process, sensitive environments have been further degraded and industries such as fishing subject to uncertainty”.

But the Scottish Government – with devolved responsibility for managing most matters in Scottish waters – is in a position to avoid this mistake.

A public consultation for developing a Scottish network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) is due this summer and the scientific advice is clear – 33 new Scottish MPAs are proposed to help rescue our seas.

The Scottish Government must heed this advice and the latest recommendations from Westminster – by sticking to its standard of best available evidence, and not delay sites further as has happened in England.

It is a startling fact that Scottish seas make up 61 per cent of UK waters and now, more than ever, we need to take seriously our immense responsibility for protecting this share.

Calum Duncan

Scottish Environment LINK’s marine taskforce

Chester Street

Edinburgh