Save marine life (except whales, birds and dolphins)
Source: Jenny Fyall, Scotsman.com
SEABIRDS, whales and dolphins have been left out of new plans to protect marine species in Scotland, The Scotsman has learned.
A new network of protected areas at sea is to be created by the Scottish Government following a commitment made in the landmark Marine (Scotland) Act 2010.
However, RSPB Scotland and the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS) are furious because they claim seabirds and cetaceans have been neglected in the process.
Although more than 30 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) have been proposed, none focus on whales and dolphins, and only one species of seabird is included the black guillemot.
Rory Crawford, seabird policy officer at RSPB Scotland, said after spending a decade campaigning for the Marine (Scotland) Act, he was disappointed and angry.
Six MPAs were proposed by RSPB Scotland to protect seabirds, but all have been rejected.
“It was a huge success story for us after a decade of campaigning to get the Marine (Scotland) Act, but now seabirds, whales and dolphins have been marginalised,” said Mr Crawford.
“We are massively disappointed. We invested a lot of time in this and it’s important that seabirds are included. I’m really angry about it. It is a fundamental omission because these are surely some of Scotland’s most characteristic species.”
RSPB Scotland believes seabirds have been neglected because the Scottish Government argues they can be protected by existing European legislation, known as “Natura 2000”.
However, the bird charity says this is not the case, as the European legislation only protects internationally important colonies of seabirds, not those that are just important to Scotland and local areas.
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