The RYA Scotland Planning and Environment Officer, Graham Russell, met some of the NatureScot HPMA team at an early stage of the consultation. Graham worked with several of the HPMA team before during the Marine Protected Area project, with input from members of the Cruising and General Purpose Committee.
The current consultation is largely about the procedure for identifying candidate sites for HPMAs. Many areas will be inappropriate. Note that, unlike the MPAs, which focussed on vulnerable species and habitats, the key goals will be to protect ecosystem services. These include health and well-being such as are provided by recreational sailing. The suggested write-in response circulated by Scottish Environment Link, a consortium of conservation bodies, states that they see no problems with recreational boating taking place in HPMAs.
RYA Scotland have discussed the issues of anchorages and moorings with the HPMA team, and we do not envisage there being any problem. On the positive side, there are attractions in having areas in which there are no fish farms, seaweed farms, excessive numbers of creel buoys or indeed any other potential navigational hazards.
These thoughts underpinned the submitted RYA Scotland response to the HMPA consultation. RYA Scotland will continue to be engaged in the HPMA discussions to ensure that responsible recreational boating is not adversely affected.
The full Scottish Government consultation was extended to April 17th 2023 from the original date of 23rd March.