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To ask the Scottish Government what its response is to reports of damage to the Loch Carron flame shell reef by a scallop dredger, and what protections are in place for marine habitats.


Answered by Roseanna Cunningham (09/05/2017):

An investigation of the status of the Loch Carron flame shell bed is taking place. This includes collating all existing evidence for a desk based study, camera survey work by Marine Scotland Science, and dive survey work by Scottish Natural Heritage.

There is a broad range of protection in place for marine habitats. The Scottish MPA network covers around 20% of our seas and provides representation of habitats found in our seas. The MPA network has five sites for flame shell beds, all of which have fisheries restrictions in place. The underpinning legislation for the different components of the MPA ensures that decisions made by public authorities, including regulation and consent of activities, do not adversely affect any protected area.

Further details can be found on the Scottish Government website at:

http://www.gov.scot/Topics/marine/marine-environment/mpanetwork

In addition to this there are also 81 Priority Marine Features, which include flame shell beds. These are given protection by general policy 9 of the National Marine Plan. This policy is designed to ensure that development and use of the marine environment does not significantly impact on the national status of a Priority Marine Feature. In addition Priority Marine Features are given consideration through environmental impact assessments that support the determination of applications for marine licences.


Current Status: Answered by Roseanna Cunningham on 09/05/2017
 
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