After consultation responses were published, net zero secretary Mairi McAllan said in a press release: “In response to the findings of the consultation, and as I set out in parliament earlier this year, the proposal to implement HPMAs across 10 percent of Scotland’s seas by 2026 will not be progressed.”
There were 4,502 responses to the consultation, although this included 2,018 standard campaign responses organised via Scottish Environment LINK.
Of the personalised ‘substantive’ responses received, more than three-quarters (76 percent) said they opposed the aims and purpose of HPMAs.
Tavish Scott, chief executive of Salmon Scotland, said: “This analysis confirms that individuals were overwhelmingly opposed to the introduction of HPMAs, and the government was right to listen to these concerns and shelve the proposals.”
The Scottish salmon sector – which is the UK’s biggest food export and provides a larger direct and indirect economic contribution than fishing – claims it repeatedly raised concerns about the proposal.
Closing 10 percent of coastal waters to human activity would impose an extra barrier on aquaculture expansion, which is already highly regulated.
Scottish salmon farms currently support 12,500 jobs, many in coastal communities, adding more than £760 (€873.55) million-a-year to the country’s economy.
Tavish Scott, chief executive of Salmon Scotland stated further that: “We once again commit to working with the Scottish Government to develop workable proposals that safeguard both livelihoods and the marine environment on which they rely.”