Date lodged: 27 November 2018
To ask the Scottish Government, further to the answer to question S5W-19717 by Mairi Gougeon on 27 November 2018, whether there are any Priority Marine Features that have yet to be assessed through the Scottish Government monitoring strategy.
Answered by: Mairi Gougeon 18 December 2018
The Priority Marine Feature list covers a broad range of habitats and species which have variable distribution in Scotland’s seas. Some are already subject to assessment:
• Eleven habitats had assessments published this year as part of a scoping consultation on a project to improve their protection. See https://consult.gov.scot/marine-scotland/priority-marine-features/ for details.
• Harbour and grey seals are monitored by the Sea Mammal Research Unit, with population assessments provided annually.
• The key commercial fish and shellfish species, which are also Priority Marine Features, are subject to annual assessments by the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES).
• Priority Marine Features which are also protected under the EU Habitats Directive are assessed every 6 years, with the next report due in 2019.
• Threatened habitats and species which are listed under the OSPAR Convention are expected to be assessed between now and 2025, with a timetable to be adopted by the OSPAR Commission in 2019.
For the other Priority Marine Features, which are mainly widely distributed habitats and some low mobility species, no assessments have yet been undertaken although monitoring data is being collected.