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Good Old Scotland

Scotland unveils tough new marine protection plans.

Stringent conservation laws could tightly control fishing, salmon farms, dredging or new oil pipelines. Two thirds of Britain’s inshore waters would be affected.

Salmon farms, offshore wind farms and oil companies will face much tougher environmental tests in Scotland, after ministers unveiled new marine protection laws.

A new marine bill, published by the Scottish government this morning, will make protecting the environment a primary and legal requirement for all activities around Scotland’s coastline. The proposals include a network of ‘marine protected areas’ , where stringent conservation rules could prohibit or tightly control fishing, salmon farms, dredging or new oil pipelines within Scottish inshore waters, out to 12 nautical miles.

Conservationists applauded the new measures, which include a new over-arching marine protection plan.

The bill also includes a new stricter licensing system for shooting seals, often illegally killed by fishermen and fish farmers, who blame them for breaching nets. The Guardian revealed last year that common seal numbers around the UK were plummeting, with some populations halved in recent years. It will now become illegal to kill seals without a licence, while the penalties for killing them without authority will rise.

Source : The Guardian newspaper.

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