A new plan to boost the economy by exploiting the energy, food and recreational resources of the sea while protecting the environment has been launched by the Scottish Government.
The first national marine plan sets out the Scottish Government’s vision for the sustainable development and use of the marine environment.
The plan aims to ensure sustainable economic growth of a range of marine industries and protect and enhance the marine environment.
It will set out policies including economic, social, climate change and marine ecosystem objectives.
The plan will cover all of Scotland’s sea out to 200 nautical miles and will apply to the exercise of devolved and reserved functions.
It aims to balance the development of established industries such as oil, gas and fishing with emerging sectors such as marine renewables and carbon capture and storage.
It is also designed to ensure the environment itself is protected and enhanced where possible.
The plan includes policies for the sustainable growth of fishing, aquaculture, salmon and migratory fish, oil and gas, carbon capture and storage, offshore wind and marine renewable energy, recreation and tourism, shipping, ports, harbours and ferries, submarine cables, defence and aggregates.
Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said: “Scotland’s seas are fundamental to our way of life.
“Yesterday, in Parliament we set out our national strategy for the future of our marine environment and economic development of our seas.
“The national marine plan will introduce a single framework to manage all activity in Scottish waters and provide clarity to developers and decision-makers on Scotland’s priorities for sustainable use of the sea.
“Our seas are a vast and vital natural resource which provide energy, food and recreation, this plan will ensure it remains a prized asset for future generations.
“This is an important step towards achieving sustainable growth and protection of the environment.”