Healthy and biologically diverse

The Scottish marine environment covers an area of over 462,000 km2 comprising a wide variety of habitats including intertidal rocky and sediment shores, subtidal rocky reefs and sandy / muddy sea bed to deep-sea sediment sea floor as well as the water column itself – the pelagic environment. Together these habitats are home to over 6,500 species of animals and plants. As highlighted in the Introduction the vision is for a healthy and biologically diverse marine and coastal environment to be achieved through the implementation of the National Marine Plan. Central to this Plan is the protection and where appropriate enhancement of the marine environment whilst embracing the sustainable exploitation of its natural and physical resources. The Healthy and biologically diverse assessment is based on three Themes: Species – Mammals, Birds, Fish, Shellfish and other invertebrates, Plankton, and Non-native species (sometimes referred to as non-indigenous species); Habitats – Intertidal and continental shelf, Deep sea, and Pelagic; Conservation – Marine Protected Areas and Priority Marine Features. The MPA assessment does not take into account the designation of MPAs since the end of 2018, for example the West of Scotland MPA and others designated in 2020. Climate change impacts on habitats are considered under Climate change - Biological impacts of climate change.

The Healthy and biologically diverse assessment in Scotland’s Marine Atlas 2011 can be found on the Scottish Government web archive here.