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Scotland's First No Take Zone

Jan 21,2008 SACN

Scotland’s first No Take Zone [NTZ] and the UK’s first community & fishermen led Marine Protected Area comes a giant step closer when Richard Lochhead MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment in the Scottish Parliament comes to the Isle of Arran on Monday 21st of January.

He is attending a public meeting on the island to make an announcement about the Lamlash Bay project, followed by a question & answer session.

The Island community has been campaigning for a NTZ for over a decade.

Since September 2006, after an enquiry by the Scottish Parliaments’ Environment & Rural Development Committee, COAST has been in discussions with the Clyde fishermen, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Government.

These meetings have now concluded with a proposed joint scheme combining both nature conservation and the benefits to fishermen, through scallop enhancement.

The only dark cloud on the horizon is that just when the news of this exciting groundbreaking project is being announced there has been a proposal made by Marine Harvest the giant Norwegian owned multinational, to North Ayrshire Planning Department, for permission to build one of Scotland’s largest fish farms.

The proposed Fish Farm would sandwich the NTZ between their existing fish farm and the new massive fish farm. It would be in an area needed for scientific monitoring of scallops dispersal from the new project.                                                                                                           

COAST info: 

The Community of Arran Seabed Trust (COAST) is a not for profit, voluntary community group which recognizes and values the amazing marine biodiversity right on our shoreline and the need to protect it.

The first proposed Scottish No Take Zone (NTZ) is planned for the north end of Lamlash Bay.  This follows years of campaigning by locals who set up COAST in an attempt to redress the loss of marine life around their island.  Our underwater world is amazing and hugely varied.  Scottish seas are home to over 8,000 spectacular species.

A NTZ is an area of sea and seabed from which no marine life can be removed by any fishing method whether it is recreational or commercial.  It will protect maerl beds and promote natural regeneration of all marine life.  This will be hugely beneficial not only to  commercial fishermen, who will gain with bigger and better catches in the neighbouring overspill area but also to  the local economy by attracting visitors and divers to Arran. 

Maerl is rare and an ecologically important fragile pink coral-like seaweed that grows slowly on the seabed.  The maerl in the northern entrance to Lamlash Bay is among the best in the Clyde.  Many marine animals either lay their eggs or the young settle amongst the maerl, safely away from predators. Both the eggs and young hide in the nooks and crannies of the maerl before moving off into the surrounding sea.  Queen scallops, juvenile Cod, Saithe and Pollack are important commercially and begin life right here.  Tragically though, once a maerl bed is damaged, as happens with towed dredging equipment, it is lost forever.

 'COAST gathered evidence of the habitats worth protecting in Lamlash Bay following Seasearch training by the Marine Conservation Society'

 COAST has produced two DVDs which were filmed in Arran waters.  “Caught in Time” highlights the years of campaigning to establish the NTZ in Lamlash Bay.  It is a snapshot of the lessons to be learnt from the past and the issues COAST continue to face to save our seas for future generations.  “The Bay” is a beautiful film of the natural history of Lamlash Bay.  This is suitable for all ages. It will impress everyone with the sheer diversity of life under the waves, which still exists in some places, despite the ravages of our modern age.

As well as working towards the establishment of the proposed NTZ, which will protect and regenerate maerl beds, other seabed habitats, and fish and scallop populations in Lamlash Bay, COAST also endeavors to:

 ·          Educate others, especially children, on the need for marine conservation through local, national and international events.

·          Improve the marine environment in our own ‘backyard’, and determine success through monitoring.

·          Help sustain the livelihood of those dependent on fishing and tourism.

·          Increase the popularity of the area as both a diving site and tourist destination.

·          Reverse the dramatic decline of local fish and shell fish stocks.

 Scientific evidence from New Zealand shows that NTZs do work and are not only good for the marine life.  Cape Rodney district council in the area of New Zealand’s first NTZ states that the local economy benefits to the tune of $25 million NZ dollars per year from the Leigh NTZ, an area approximately the same size as the Lamlash Bay site.  Therefore the future looks positive for both the marine life in Lamlash Bay and the local economy.  

COAST is funded by: Scottish Natural Heritage; the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation; and Director General, Fish at the European Union in Brussels. More information on COAST is available at: www.arrancoast.co.uk.



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» Community Campaign for No Take Zones Gains Momentum
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