Under a new area of conservation in Scotland, the harbour porpoise is the latest species to be given increased protection.
Scotland’s first Special Area of Conservation (SAC) has been created in the Inner Hebrides and Minches SAC on the West of Scotland is now Europe’s largest for this species.
The area will help maintain the favourable conservation status of harbour porpoise by providing protection to them and the habitats that support them in Scottish waters.
It will fulfil the Scottish Government legal obligation to protect porpoises in our seas over and above the European Protected Species (EPS) status.
Cabinet Secretary for Environment Roseanna Cunningham said:
“I am pleased to designate Scotland’s first harbour porpoise SAC. This will help maintain the favourable conservation status and provide protection to the species and their habitats.
“Work to develop a species conservation strategy and ensuring appropriate management, at site level now begins. Stakeholder engagement will be essential during this process and I encourage everyone with an interest to participate.”
Lang Banks, Director of WWF Scotland said:
“It’s fantastic news that Europe’s largest Special Area of Conservation for harbour porpoise is to be located off the west coast of Scotland. We’ve long called for greater protection for this species and we look forward to working with the Scottish Government and others to ensure that this site contributes to a coherent and well managed network of marine protected areas. We know establishing marine protected areas works, so we look forward to seeing governments around the UK continuing to designate more locations in the future.”