Extended protection for flapper skate.

The critically endangered flapper skate is to gain further protection following the extension of an urgent Marine Protected Area (MPA) within the Inner Sound of Skye.

The site protects a nationally important flapper skate egg nursery area which is the largest of its kind to be identified in Scotland. The original site was given urgent MPA status in March this year after more than a hundred eggs were discovered and to protect the fragile species a number of marine activities, including bottom contacting fishing, aquaculture, and construction, were prohibited within the MPA for an initial 12 month period. Surveys have now discovered a significant number of flapper skate eggs to the north of the original urgently designated MPA and due to the vulnerability of the eggs, the site boundary is being extended to include them.

A public consultation will take place in February 2022 before a decision on the permanence of the site’s protected status is made.

Environment Minister Mairi McAllan said:

“The flapper skate was once abundant in our seas but is now sadly depleted.

“The eggs discovered are very encouraging but they are also fragile – and, in a climate and nature crisis, we must do what we can to protect them.

“That’s why we moved quickly in March to offer protected status to the site where some 100 eggs were found. Now, with the discovery of over 400 more eggs within the original site and more than 700 more eggs to the north of the original site, we have decided to extend that urgent protection to include the newly discovered eggs.

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