Initial engagement results show passion for the marine environment, communities and heritage of the Outer Hebrides

We are pleased to reveal findings from our initial phase of engagement, in which we explored a broad range of issues to do with marine management and Marine Protected Areas in the Outer Hebrides with community stakeholders.

Through a series of events early in 2020, and with an online survey, we asked what was important to communities of the Outer Hebrides about the seas and their current management. We also asked what changes had been seen in the environment, what should be done to address any changes, and for views on Marine Protected Areas themselves.

Having collated the survey responses and event conversations, we would like to share the findings with you to check that we understood the range of views properly. The infographic shown below summarises the main themes and environmental observations that were raised.

The survey (to which 237 island residents responded) revealed that communities across the Outer Hebrides feel connected to the islands and the seas that surround us, and that a sense of connection is present through interactions with nature. One of the strongest themes to emerge was the desire to balance the need for much needed environmental protection and stewardship with sustaining marine jobs and livelihoods that are so important to our island communities. The preservation of our unique island heritage and environment is important so that all can benefit from the seas through activities such as fishing, tourism, and by living in such a special place – for generations to come.

The full report summarising our engagement results is available at here.

We are always looking for new and creative ways to engage with communities so if you would like to comment on any of our findings or would like to participate further in MPAs management please get in touch with the project at

SEASOH Data Survey infographic

This infographic summarises themes and environmental observations that were raised in our online survey, and echo much of what we learned at our face-to-face events (these events all took place in February and March 2019: before any restrictions came into force as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic). In the infographic, each large open circle relates to a theme, and the solid circles are scaled in proportion to the total number of comments relating to the theme. The total number of comments received in each area were: environmental changes = 281 comments; marine management = 37 comments; Marine Protected Areas = 66 comments. Arrows indicate linkage between the three main themes.