Allan Whyte, Marine Policy Officer at RSPB Scotland, gives us an update on the campaign for Marine Protected Areas in Scotland.

Super sandeels

Sandeels are probably not an animal you are overly familiar with; you will hopefully have read a little about them on our website. However, this small, silvery fish is something of a superhero in the sea. Sandeels are utterly vital for marine animals like seabirds, dolphins, whales and porpoises. However, sandeel populations are declining, largely due to the impact of climate change on the marine environment.

Sandeels are a vital food source for puffins and other seabirds.

As many of you will know, the Scottish Government has proposed Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) to protect a range of species, including sandeels and black guillemots, but has ignored the other 23 seabird species which breed around our coasts.

We will keep fighting for MPAs for Scotland’s seabirds, but right now the most effective thing we can do is to make sure our Government lives up to its promise to protect sandeels and black guillemots. Our seabird populations are under increasing strain from a lack of food and the impact of climate change and it is vital that we protect these species and the food they eat.  

This infographic depicts the impact of climate change on the marine food chain.

We’re asking people who care about Scotland’s marine environment to write to their MSPs telling them why protection for seabirds and sandeels is so important to them.

There are three things our Government must do when it finally announces which MPAs are designated this summer:

  • Designate the 6 black guillemot MPAs
  • Designate the 3 sandeel MPAs
  • Designate the Firth of Forth Banks Complex MPA for sandeels

The map below outlines where proposed MPAs are located. Are any near you? You can also take a look at an interactive (and lots of great pictures of marine wildlife) at

So who exactly do you write to? You will have 7 list MSPs and one constituency MSP. To find out who your MSPs are, visit To save on postage, you can place all  8 copies of your letter (addressed to each individual MSP) in one envelope addressed to The Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh, EH99 1SP.

Keep checking our website and blogs for updates on how things are going.

Thanks for all your help and support for giving nature a home at sea.