Navigating future uncertainty in marine protected area governance: Lessons from the Scottish MPA network

Charlotte Rachael Hopkins*, David Mark Bailey, Tavis Potts

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)


As international pressure for marine protection has increased, Scotland has increased spatial protection through the development of a Marine Protected Area (MPA) network. Few MPA networks to date have included specific considerations of climate change in the design, monitoring or management of the network. The Scottish MPA network followed a feature-led approach to identify a series of MPAs across the Scottish marine area and incorporated the diverse views of many different stakeholders. This feature led approach has led to wide ranging opinions and understandings regarding the success of the MPA network. Translating ideas of success into a policy approach whilst also considering how climate change may affect these ideas of success is a complex challenge. This paper presents the results of a Delphi process that aimed to facilitate clear communication between academics, policy makers and stakeholders in order to identify specific climate change considerations applicable to the Scottish MPA network. This study engaged a group of academic and non-academic stakeholders to discuss potential options that could be translated into an operational process for management of the MPA network. The results of Delphi process discussion are presented with the output of a management matrix tool, which could aid in future decisions for MPA management under scenarios of climate change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)303-311
Number of pages9
JournalEstuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science
Early online date25 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2018

Bibliographical note

Thank you to all the participants in this study and to Dr Sophie Elliot and Dr Joanne Clark for assistance in facilitation. Thank you to the reviewers of this manuscript for their insights. This research was supported and funded by ClimateXChange (referenceno:A10431853). ClimateXChange is a collaborative initiative between Scottish research and higher education institutes and is funded by the Scottish Government. The participant workshop was supported by a MASTS Small Grant SG215.


  • Climate change
  • Delphi technique
  • Marine protected area network
  • MPA management
  • Scotland


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