Chapter 4: Healthy and Biologically Diverse
In response to local declines in seal numbers, the Scottish Government introduced conservation orders under the Conservation of Seals Act 1970 to provide additional protection on a precautionary basis for vulnerable local populations of seals.
The Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 introduces provisions for existing orders to continue, and for new ones to be introduced administratively as Seal Conservation Areas.
On 31 January 2011, Part 6 of the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 came into force. Part 6 seeks to balance seal conservation with sustainable fisheries and aquaculture and its introduction means: It is an offence to kill or injure a seal except under licence or for welfare reasons, outlawing unregulated seal shooting that was permitted under previous legislation A number of seal conservation areas around Scotland will begin to be introduced, designed to protect vulnerable, declining common seal populations A new seal licensing system, providing a well regulated and monitored context for seal management in Scotland has been introduced. Seal Management Areas are: East Coast, Moray Firth, Orkney and North Coast, Shetland, South West Scotland, West Scotland, Western Isles.
Nephrops distribution is limited by the extent of suitable muddy sediment in which animals construct burrows. Nephrops are assessed across Europe as individual stocks in 34 functional units (FUs). This data combines the ICES functional units (based on ICES statistical rectangles), combined with the actual extent of the muddy sediment, in Scottish & adjacent waters, derived from sediment and VMS data.