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WDC: Three new marine protected areas

In December 2020, the Scottish Government officially announced the creation of three new marine protected areas (MPAs) off the coast of Scotland, following a long-running campaign by WDC to secure better protection for populations of Minke whales and Risso’s dolphins.

Minke whales come into Scottish waters during the warmer months to feed on mackerel and herring. Groups of female Risso’s dolphins bring their very young calves to north-east Lewis to feed on octopus and to socialise. Both populations are threatened by fishing practices and human disturbance.

The government announcement was the result of years of patient WDC fieldwork and analysis, data gathered by their ‘Shorewatch’ citizen science volunteers, political lobbying, public action and outreach to coastal communities and industries.