G R Direct - Free Dishwasher OfferG R Direct - Free Dishwasher OfferG R Direct - Free Dishwasher OfferG R Direct - Free Dishwasher OfferG R Direct - Free Dishwasher Offer
Thursday 25 July 2024
 13.4°C   SSE Moderate Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Marine / Council fundamentally opposed to HPMA proposal

SHETLAND Islands Council has raised serious concern in the consultation process on the controversial Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs) proposal and has now submitted a response strongly opposing the Scottish Government initiative.

In the eight page document, the council expresses the view that the HPMA process, if implemented, will “impact significantly upon our residents, communities and industries that rely on the sea for their livelihoods.”

A motion by development committee chair Dennis Leask to oppose the proposal was passed without much debate in the council chamber earlier this month.

At the time, councillors were informed that council officials were already in the process of drafting a strongly worded response.

The government’s aim is to see at least 10 per cent of Scottish waters designated as HPMAs by 2026 where any fishing and aquaculture activity would be banned.

However, in its response the council said that “given the lack of effective prior engagement” and the “absence of a clear evidence base” it was seriously concerned what impact the proposal could, potentially, have on the islands’ economy.

The council also makes the point that it believes the potential implications of the HPMA proposal have not been fully considered or communicated and finds it “exceedingly difficult to fully engage with the concept (…) without being aware of what particular areas of Shetland’s marine waters these areas will cover or what particular areas Marine Scotland are minded to identify”.

With regards to the likely economic consequences the document goes on to say that it is thought that the designation would have a significant impact on local communities.

“This is of paramount importance when taking account of the economic and community value which our existing commercial fishing, inshore fishing and aquaculture industries provide to Shetland and its communities,” the consultation response document reads.

Become a supporter of Shetland News


“Additionally, such designations also have the risk of impacting upon the development of future industries such as marine renewables and cabling, seaweed cultivation, our move towards net zero and low carbon technologies, our existing and future expansion of ports and harbours and our aspirations for fixed links to our island communities.

“The sectors referenced above are part of the extensive marine economy in Shetland – the most recent economic estimates suggest an overall value of £470m from the combined outputs of fish catching, aquaculture, processing, marine engineering and sea transportation, equal to over one third of Shetland’s entire economic output.”

SIC political leader Emma Macdonald. Photo: Shetland News

With regards to process, the document states: “We are also very concerned that the HMPA process has reached this stage, with minimal prior awareness raising or opportunities to raise questions and concerns through the prior engagement of Shetland Islands Council.

“We also note the engagement that is proposed to occur during the site selection process, but we feel that this will happen at too late a stage, as the concept will have already been agreed.”

Council leader Emma Macdonald said: “We have significant concerns about the proposed national HPMA policy framework and how this will operate in the waters around Shetland, which are a hugely important resource for so many local economic sectors.

“Our future ambitions in many areas, including fishing, aquaculture, tunnels and renewables, will also be impacted by these far reaching policy proposals.

“Shetland is a vastly experienced marine community, with considerable knowledge in licensing, regulation and management of a range of inshore and offshore activities.

“Like other industry representatives, we strongly oppose these proposals and would encourage proper engagement to inform any future marine planning discussions.”

The full SIC response can be read here.
The Scottish government consultation is open until 27 April and can be found here.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.