Marine Protection In Scotland Worth 10 Billion Says WDC
The creation of a network of protected areas in Scotland's seas could be worth up to £10 billion in economic benefits, according to a new report commissioned by environment industry forum Scottish Environment Link, a group that includes WDC.
The report has been made public just as the Scottish government is due to publish proposals for a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) by the end of the year, and just as WDCís campaign
to have whales and dolphins included in the species to be protected in these areas reaches over 30,000 signatures.
According to the report, MPAs would help mitigate against extreme weather impacts, boost fisheries and secure Scotland's tourism appeal. It also found that the greatest economic benefits would come from a network that protects a high proportion of habitats and species which are currently threatened or in decline.
Sarah Dolman, WDCís head of policy in Scotland said: "Whale and dolphin watching around Scotland's coastlines generates millions of pounds and valuable jobs.
"For example, whale watching in western Scotland is worth about £7.8 million a year, supporting over 60 boat operators."
The Scottish governmentís Rural Affairs Secretary, Richard Lochhead, said: "I thank Scottish Environment Link for carrying out this study, which includes some interesting contributions to the debate on the value and role of Marine Protected Areas.
"What the Scottish government is fully committed to is putting in place the measures needed to ensure protection for our precious marine environment while providing continued support for the economic users of our seas. MPAs will form an important part of getting that balance right."
Scottish Environment Link's marine taskforce is made up of eight organisations.
They are the Hebridean Whale & Dolphin Trust, Marine Conservation Society, National Trust for Scotland, RSPB Scotland, Scottish Ornithologists' Club, Scottish Wildlife Trust, WWF Scotland and Whale Dolphin Conservation.Take a look
at WDCís campaign to create safe homes for whales and dolphins in Scotland.