Plans are in the works to expand Scotland's network of Marine Protected Areas.
The Scottish Government is currently consulting on four possible Marine Protected Areas for Scotland's seas.
Three of the possible areas lie in waters near the Outer Hebrides, including North-east Lewis, Shiant East Bank and Sea of the Hebrides.
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) is running a series of local drop-in consultation events for members of the public and interested parties to find out more about the proposals. Consultation events will be held on Skye and in Mallaig.
The consultation is inviting views on the case for the individual possible Marine Protected Areas (pMPAs) and their possible environmental and socio-economic impacts and management.
Katie Gillham, SNH’s Head of Marine Ecosystems, said: “If designated these new sites will contribute to the completion of the MPA network in Scotland’s seas and offer protection for important habitats and species. These include large numbers of basking sharks, minke whales and Risso’s dolphins that use these areas for breeding and feeding.
“The designation will also contribute to fulfilling Scotland’s international commitments to secure the health and biodiversity of our seas.
“We want to ensure that these proposals work for people and nature, and these events are a great opportunity for individuals and groups to come along, speak to our experts and find out more.
“We all benefit from nature in many ways and we can all help to create a nature-rich future in Scotland.
“That’s why we look forward to hearing the views of as many people as possible as we take this consultation to communities across Scotland in the coming weeks.”
The public consultation on the plans is running for 12 weeks from June 7 to August 30.
The sessions will take place on the following dates between 2-8pm:
30 July Skye - Skye Camanachd Social Club, Portree
31 July Mallaig - Mallaig and Morar Community Centre
Image above: Feeding Minke whale by Michael J. Tetley.