In the week the Scottish parliament returns after the summer recess, WDCS has launched a viral video film today as part of its campaign reminding the government that whales and dolphins should be included in its plans to create marine protected areas in the seas around Scotland in a few months.
‘Let’s invite them to the party’ is the strapline used in the animated video in which the whale and dolphin characters question why they might be excluded from protection when these marine protected areas go forward to the Scottish parliament shortly.
WDCS is asking for the public’s help to put even more pressure on the government to ensure Scotland’s new marine protected area network extends protection to the whales and dolphins that live in (and depend on) the seas around Scotland when Ministers announce sites for this network later in the year.
Having already received nearly 15,000 signatures of support from members of the public, WDCS is encouraging people in Scotland, and those who love and visit Scotland, to watch the film and join its campaign asking Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Environment, Richard Lochhead, to ensure these amazing creatures are offered protection.
Scotland has the greatest diversity of whales, dolphins and porpoises in northern Europe yet, currently, there is only one protected area for a single species in the whole of Scotland’s seas.
The Scottish government has identified that whales and dolphins could benefit from MPAs and have the scientific evidence that shows that Scotland’s whales and dolphins would benefit from their creation, yet it remains unclear if this new network of marine protected areas will include any more whales, dolphins and porpoises when the sites are presented to Scottish Ministers in December.
WDCS head of Scottish policy, Sarah Dolman said: “We fully support the Scottish government in it’s efforts to protect our incredible marine life and future-proof our seas by designating a coherent network of MPAs in Scottish waters. However, we have very real fears that mobile species, including whales, dolphins and porpoises, will not be adequately protected, despite the scientific evidence that we have provided to demonstrate such areas are possible – and necessary. Scottish government is legally obliged to designate a network of MPAs by the end of 2012, and the network will not be complete without including whales and dolphins.
“Protection of areas used for important biological activities, such as feeding and calving, for species like minke whales, Risso’s dolphins and white-beaked dolphins are urgently needed. Further, MPAs should include bottlenose dolphins and harbour porpoises, which Scotland has the highest densities of in the whole of Europe. Without the inclusion of these nationally important species, the Scottish government will fail to deliver on its national and international legal obligations .”
“Scotland has a once in a lifetime opportunity to designate a truly iconic and world-class MPA network that includes our incredible whales, dolphins and porpoises, for Scots to be proud of and that visitors will want to see for themselves Dolman continues. “But we have grave concerns about whether whales, dolphins and porpoises will be adequately protected by this network . We think whales and dolphins should be invited to ‘join the party’ ”