Why a new code?
Under the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 Scottish Natural Heritage must "prepare and issue a code, to be known as the Scottish Marine Wildlife Watching Code, setting out recommendations, advice and information relating to commercial and leisure activities involving the watching of marine wildlife". Most commercial operators are already highly responsible, some already have codes, but not all do. It can be difficult to decide what to do to balance your visitors' wishes to get a good view with the need to cause minimum disturbance. For many people, watching marine wildlife is just part of what they do on or near the water. If you are in charge of any kind of boat, if you dive, if you just walk along the beach, you may have an impact on the wildlife around you. Some marine creatures have legal protection from harassment or disturbance. Following a sensible code will prevent you from committing an offence, however unwittingly.