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Marine Life & Conservation

New Scottish MPAs to offer protection for iconic marine species

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Minke whale, basking sharks and Risso’s dolphins will be among a wide range of biodiversity and geological features to be safeguarded following the designation of four new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

A further 12 sites have been given Special Protection Area status, providing additional protection to Scotland’s vulnerable marine birds including sea ducks, divers, grebes and our iconic seabirds.

A total of 230 sites are now subject to marine protection measures, covering around 227,622 square kilometres – 37% – of Scotland’s seas. The West of Scotland MPA, Europe’s largest Marine Protected Area, was designated in September and is regarded by the Convention on Biological Diversity as “internationally significant”.

Natural Environment Minister Mairi Gougeon said: “It is our duty to help protect and enhance our marine environment so that it remains a prized asset for future generations. These designations continue Scotland’s commitment to lead by example on environmental protection.

“Not only are our seas fundamental to our way of life, they provide habitats for a hugely diverse range of marine wildlife and it is vital that we ensure appropriate protection for them.

“Scotland’s waters are home to many unique species and these designations ensure our MPA network is fully representative of our marine diversity, exceeding the proposed international target to achieve 30% of global MPA coverage by 2030.

“Protecting Scotland’s marine environment is also crucial for supporting the sustainable recovery of our marine industries and these designations will form a key element of our Blue Economy Action Plan.”

The four new Marine Protected Areas are:

  • North-east Lewis: The protected features include Risso’s dolphins and sandeels.
  • Sea of the Hebrides: The largest of the four new MPAs. The protected features include basking sharks and minke whale.
  • Shiant East Bank: Located in the middle of the Minch, the sea which separates the Outer Hebrides from the Scottish mainland. The protected features include sponge habitats and sea fans, a variety of coral.
  • Southern Trench.The protected features include minke whale.

The sites receiving Special Protection Area status are:

  • Solway Firth
  • Seas off St Kilda
  • Seas off Foula
  • Moray Firth
  • Ythan Estuary, Sands of Forvie and Meikle Loch (extension)
  • Outer Firth of Forth and Outer St Andrews Bay complex
  • Bluemull and Colgrave Sounds
  • East Mainland Coast Shetland
  • Sound of Gigha
  • Coll and Tiree
  • Rum
  • West Coast of the Outer Hebrides

The announcement by the Scottish Government is great news for marine life in Scotland!

Nick and Caroline (Frogfish Photography) are a married couple of conservation driven underwater photo-journalists and authors. Both have honours degrees from Manchester University, in Environmental Biology and Biology respectively, with Nick being a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a former high school science teacher with a DipEd in Teaching Studies. Caroline has an MSc in Animal Behaviour specializing in Caribbean Ecology. They are multiple award-winning photographers and along with 4 published books, feature regularly in the diving, wildlife and international press They are the Underwater Photography and Deputy Editors at Scubaverse and Dive Travel Adventures. Winners of the Caribbean Tourism Organization Photo-journalist of the Year for a feature on Shark Diving in The Bahamas, and they have been placed in every year they have entered. Nick and Caroline regularly use their free time to visit schools, both in the UK and on their travels, to discuss the important issues of marine conservation, sharks and plastic pollution. They are ambassadors for Sharks4Kids and founders of SeaStraw. They are Dive Ambassadors for The Islands of The Bahamas and are supported by Mares, Paralenz, Nauticam and Olympus. To find out more visit www.frogfishphotography.com

Marine Life & Conservation

The BiG Scuba Podcast… with Paul Rose

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Next in a new series of podcasts shared by our friends Gemma and Ian aka The BiG Scuba Podcast…

Ian and Gemma chat to Paul Rose. A man at the front line of exploration and one of the world’s most experienced divers, field science and polar experts, Paul Rose helps scientists unlock and communicate global mysteries in the most remote and challenging regions of the planet.

He is an experienced television presenter and radio broadcaster. With a proven track record in business engagements, Paul is a sought-after speaker, chairman, host and moderator for industry, government and NGO events.

Former Vice President of the Royal Geographical Society(link is external) and Chair of the Expeditions and Fieldwork Division, Paul is currently Expedition Leader for the National Geographic Pristine Seas Expeditions.

He was the Base Commander of Rothera Research Station, Antarctica, for the British Antarctic Survey for 10 years and was awarded HM The Queen’s Polar Medal. For his work with NASA and the Mars Lander project on Mt Erebus, Antarctica, he received the US Polar Medal.

Paul is a mountain and polar guide leading Greenland Icecap crossing and mountaineering expeditions and polar science support logistics. He worked for four years as a Mountain Safety consultant to the oil industry in the Middle East.

On his 2012 Greenland expedition, Paul led the first expedition to successfully traverse a new 275km icecap route of Knud Rasmussen Land and repeated his first ascent of the north face of Gunnsbjørnfjeld, the highest mountain in the Arctic.

His professional diving work includes science support diving in Antarctica as the British Antarctic Survey’s Institute Diving Officer. He ran the US Navy diver training programme at Great Lakes Naval Training Centre and trained many emergency response dive teams including the Police, Fire Department and Underwater Recovery Teams. He remains a current and active PADI Dive Instructor.

Find out more about Paul Rose at www.paulrose.org


Find more podcast episodes and information at www.thebigscuba.com and on most social platforms @thebigscuba 

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Marine Life & Conservation

Jeff chats to… TV Presenter Andy Torbet – Part 2: Andy talks about Marine Conservation (Watch Video)

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In this exclusive two-part Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-large, chats to Andy Torbet. In part two, Andy and Jeff talk about Marine Conservation.

Missed Part one? Watch it HERE.

Andy is an Underwater Explorer, Cave Diver, Freediver, Skydiver, Climber and Outdoorsman. He is also a TV Presenter on award-winning series for BBC, CBBC, Discovery, History Channel and Fully Charged Show’s Youtube Channel. Andy is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and The Explorers Club, and is also a Stunt Performer for TV and Films.

Rather listen to a podcast? Listen to the audio HERE on the new Scubaverse podcast channel at Anchor FM.


For more information, visit www.andytorbet.com

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