Environmental Standards Scotland (ESS) has agreed an informal resolution with Marine Scotland about how it enforces the proper use of Acoustic Deterrent Devices (ADDs) in the marine environment.
ADDs have been used in the aquaculture industry to prevent seal attacks at fin fish farms, but these devices can also disturb European Protected Species (EPS) such as dolphins and porpoises. These species are protected under the Conservation (Natural Habitats, &c.) Regulations 1994 (“the Habitats Regulations”).
ESS became involved after receiving a representation expressing concerns that fish farm operators had been using ADDs without a licence. The representation queried the sufficiency of Marine Scotland’s investigation and enforcement actions to stop such practices.
ESS looked at the rules and the law surrounding the use of ADDs, including whether Marine Scotland’s enforcement processes were sufficiently robust enough to protect EPS in line with the requirements of the Habitats Regulations.
ESS made recommendations for improvements to Marine Scotland’s compliance process, which were implemented by Marine Scotland. Marine Scotland has also agreed to release public updates on the progress of their enforcement works.
As a result, ESS considers Marine Scotland has taken reasonable corrective actions and has concluded that informal resolution has been achieved.
You can read the ESS report here: Investigations – Environmental Standards Scotland