Today Scottish Natural Heritage has launched a consultation on the scientific case to classify 10 sites as marine Special Protection Areas (SPAs).
Commenting on this Lloyd Austin, Head of Conservation Policy at RSPB Scotland said: "The RSPB has been working with governments for many years to identify important areas at sea for seabirds, divers, grebes and seaducks so we warmly welcome the proposals. As these sites, if well managed, will help improve the prospects of some of the world's most rare and vulnerable marine birds, we look forward to the Scottish Government proceeding and introducing appropriate management.
"As such, we fully support these first steps which show the Scottish Government showing real leadership. By taking these protected areas forward now, it is making good on its international responsibilities for nature.
"However, it's troubling that five sites that were in draft plans are missing from the consultation. Cross-border and offshore protected areas in the Solway Firth, the Firth of Forth, Pentland Firth and the seas off the remote islands of St. Kilda and Foula all appear to be in limbo until agreement is received from the UK Government.
"With many Scottish seabird populations in freefall we urge UK Ministers to give the green light right away so that effective conservation action can finally be put in place."
The Scottish Government press release about the consultation launch can be seen here.