‘Urgent’ Designation of Marine Protected Area Within The Inner Sound of Skye

If you know what this is then you will also realise what this article is about.

The mermaid’s purse is found, often in great numbers, on our beaches in Orkney, especially after stormy weather. It’s the egg pouch of the flapper skate.

The flapper skate is fond of the shallow seas around the islands of Orkney. So although it is numerous in the islands it is ‘critically endangered’.

The Orkney Islands, Northern Scotland, are home to the largest skate in the world; previously known as the Common Skate (Dipturus batis) but now considered to be two separate species, the Blue Skate (Dipturus batis) and the Flapper Skate (Dipturus intermedius). The latter, much larger species is resident in Orkney waters. Orkney Skate Trust

It’s also very fond of the seas within the Inner Sound of Skye which NatureScot state is the ‘largest flapper skate egg nursery area’ in the whole of Scotland

 A new Marine Protected Area (MPA) has been ‘urgently’ put in place within the Inner Sound of Skye and will come into effect on the 17th of March.

Management measures prohibiting a number of marine activities such as fishing, diving and construction within the site will initially last for a period of 12 months

These are Scotland’s marine protected areas:

They cover about 37% of our seas.

The area in the Inner Sound of Skye is known as Red Rocks and Longay MPA. The urgent designation of the MPA was put in place following advice provided by NatureScot that:

the  site is of national importance for the conservation of the species and recommended a precautionary approach is used when implementing protection.

The activities affected include:

  • fishing – dredging
  • fishing – creels
  • fishing – demersal trawling or seine
  • fishing – gill/trammel nets
  • fishing – scallop diving
  • recreational sea angling
  • recreational diving
  • marine deposit sites/waste disposal
  • aquaculture
  • marine infrastructure
  • anchoring

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