The Scottish coasts and seas provide food, energy sources (wind, wave and tidal power, minerals and fossil fuels), routes and harbours for shipping, tourism and recreational opportunities and sites of cultural and historical interest. They also contain important habitats and support a range of species which we need to protect, conserve, enhance and manage effectively. There has been a planning system on land for over 50 years, but until now there has been no similar system to plan for all uses of the marine environment. This has meant that different sectors have developed in isolation from each other and there has been no way to plan ahead and coordinate activities in our increasingly busy seas.
The introduction of the Marine (Scotland) Act means better management of the competing demands on marine resources is key and the creation of a National Marine Plan will ensure increasing demands for the use of our marine environment are managed, economic development of marine industries is encouraged and environmental protection is incorporated into marine decision making. It will also have a role to play in managing adaptation to climate change.
Marine Scotland is the directorate of Scottish Government responsible for the integrated management of Scotland's seas, and as such is involved at various planning levels:
- An international level, by working with a range of others within UK and Europe
- A national level, by creating Scotland's first National Marine Plan
- A regional level, by creating Scottish Marine Regions
There are also close links to: