Developing an integrated approach to marine management in the Firth of Clyde

Rachel M. Gregg
Posted on: 2/12/2017 - Updated on: 3/02/2020

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Rachel Gregg

Project Summary

The Marine (Scotland) Act required the creation of marine plans to sustainably manage activities within 11 Scottish Marine Regions: Argyll, Clyde, Forth & Tay, Moray Firth, North Coast, North East, Outer Hebrides, Orkney Islands, Shetland Isles, Solway, and West Highlands. The Clyde Marine Region is on the west of Scotland, extending from the River Clyde in Glasgow seawards to the outer firth. The Firth of Clyde Marine Spatial Plan, published in 2010, was the result of one of four pilot projects organized by the Scottish Sustainable Marine Environment Initiative, an approach aimed at better informing public bodies that are responsible for marine and coastal planning and management functions in the region. The plan established a voluntary, overarching policy framework to guide sustainable development of activities competing for marine resources in time and space in support of a 20-year vision. Policies were developed to support high-level social, economic, and environmental aims for the region. The plan included ways to develop a more integrated approach between jurisdictions, including terrestrial bodies, and produced a list of recommended projects, some of which have since been implemented. 

A number of background studies were completed to build a strong foundation for the plan. A Sectoral Interactions Report described the interactions among key sectors utilizing the marine environment, finding surprisingly that there were substantially fewer unmanaged conflicts or incompatibilities than anticipated. The sectors considered included shipping and transportation, conservation and biodiversity, energy and subsea infrastructure, mariculture, fishing, and recreation and tourism. Several reports were produced to summarize existing environmental information on the current status and trends of the marine environment, the number of jobs and businesses supported by the area, biodiversity of habitats and species and gaps in current knowledge. Other documents mapped distribution of priority species, biotopes, and hotspots in restricted areas. The plan also examined potential impacts of climate change, including sea level rise, rising sea temperatures, increased storminess, increased coastal flooding, changes in abundance and distribution of marine species, increased rate of spread of non-native species, and earlier phytoplankton blooms.

In February 2016, the Clyde Marine Planning Partnership (CMPP) was established, a partnership responsible for developing a statutory Regional Marine Plan that builds off of the voluntary Firth of Clyde MSP. The CMPP adopted the Clyde 2020 Vision, which identifies the area as “a healthy and thriving marine ecosystem that is capable of adapting and mitigating for the challenges of climate change and supports sustainable fishing, tourism, leisure and other sustainable developments while offering protection to the most fragile species and habitats.” The Clyde 2020 project and its outputs will help to shape a climate-informed Regional Marine Plan.


Gregg, R.M. 2017. Developing an integrated approach to marine management in the Firth of Clyde. Summary of a project of the Clyde Marine Planning Partnership. Retrieved from CAKE:… (Last updated February 2017)

Affiliated Organizations

The Clyde Marine Planning Partnership (CMPP) is made up of more than 20 organisations and statutory bodies who have a stake in how the Clyde is managed. The membership reflects the range of interests around the Clyde from fisheries and aquaculture to tourism and recreation, business and industry to nature conservation and wildlife.


Scale of Project
Habitat/Biome Type