1. The challenges and critical points in the development of a management scheme for a marine Special Area of Conservation (SAC) are discussed.
2. The need for sufficient information to justify the selection of an area and, subsequently, to inform any debate on management decisions and a monitoring programme, together with the requirement to make such information readily and widely available are highlighted.
3. The development of a management scheme should be inclusive and involve all interested parties, so that there is ultimately as wide as possible ownership of the scheme.
4. It is important that sufficient opportunity is given for all issues to be adequately investigated, discussed and resolved. A realistic but flexible timetable needs to be set at the beginning of the process with a clear understanding by all those involved that there is a definite end point to this process.
5. The importance of identifying the potential benefits of marine SACs, and not just the possible constraints, is important in achieving these overall goals. Copyright © 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.