Octopus centre

Improving protection given to Priority Marine Features outside the Marine Protected Area network. August 2018

COAST Response To Priority Marine Feature Consultation August 2018

The principal aim of the project is to ensure that the necessary fisheries management measures are in place to ensure protection of PMFs, and comply with the relevant policy in the National Marine Plan.  The current PMF list has 81 habitats and species and therefore a prioritisation exercise was undertaken. Through this process Marine Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) identified 11 habitats, which are particularly sensitive to impact from bottom contacting mobile fishing gears.  COAST stand for ensuring that this process results in effective spatial management of the use of bottom towed fishing gear and that our vital ensure habitats are given the long term opportunity to recover to the benefit of everyone.

The 11 Priority Marine Features (PMFs), which are a subset of the full 81 PMFs are:

  • Blue mussel beds
  • Cold water coral reefs
  • Fan mussel aggregations
  • Flame shell beds
  • Horse mussel beds
  • Maerl beds
  • Maerl or coarse shell gravel with burrowing sea cucumbers
  • Native oysters
  • Northern sea fan and sponge communities
  • Seagrass beds
  • Serpulid aggregations