COAST February 2018 Newsletter                                                     View this email in your browser

Coastal communities turning the tide

As Fiona Gell recently wrote in The Guardian, it is ordinary people who are driving the future of conservation, the government is recognising this, and starting to listen to what coastal communities have to say.
SEPA’s CEO Terry A'Hearn and Aquaculture Specialist Mike Montague accepted our public invitation on social media to visit COAST this month. During a full day of discussion there were many straight questions from members of our community about SEPA's regulatory role and the proposed expansion of Lamlash Bay Salmon Farm. Terry later stated: "Great day with community members. Loved their enthusiasm, knowledge and determination to build a better future for their island. Has improved my understanding of community views re fish farming. A great day!". He was clear to all present that the salmon aquaculture industry needs to improve, that compliance is non-negotiable, and that SEPA expects to be held to account as an effective regulator. 

Many Scottish people and communities have been making an extraordinary difference to the protection of our seas during these past two months. Here are just a few examples:

  • The BLOOM-led campaign has brought together fishing and many other organisations and has stopped the EU from allowing more electric trawling.
  • Communities of divers are proving to be highly effective for compliance in protected areas, raising the alarm as they did recently when illegal scallop dredging was taking place in the Firth of Lorne, leading to the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation condemning this practice.
  • Unprecedented media attention and government/ business action is being taken on plastic pollution thanks to the longstanding work of organisations like the MCS or FIDRA, fired up by school children like those from Sunnyside Primary and the eXXpedition sailors and activists.
  • Many West Coast communities like ours are now represented through the new Salmon Aquaculture Reform Network Scotland (SARNS). Please sign our petition: “Time to clean up Scotland's Salmon Farming Industry” if you are concerned about the environmental impacts of open pen salmon farming.
  • Another example of change was the powerful intervention at Parliament of Planet Earth II filmmaker and writer John Aitchison, from the Friends of the Sound of Jura community. He was called to give evidence at the government inquiry into the environmental impacts of open pen salmon farming. 

We will keep trying to balance the strong influence that powerful industrial lobbies have on some Scottish MSPs. “Smooth seas do not make skilful sailors” says the African proverb and coastal communities, governmental bodies, environmental NGOs, universities and sustainable sectors of industry continue to work and learn together while navigating the stormy sea of marine management. 

Sun and air power
We have now installed solar panels and an air source heat-pump system that will be powering our new centre. 
MPA hub opening on World Oceans Day 
Date for your diary! The Octopus Centre, our new Marine Learning and Activity Hub in Lamlash, will be opening to the public on World Oceans Day: 8th of June. Twenty representatives from Arran community groups, businesses and volunteers visited the site at a community planning workshop in January to suggest and prioritise activities and layout.
Volunteer opportunities with COAST
Do you have the skills and enthusiasm to help COAST launch our new Marine Learning and Activity Hub  on the shores of Arran’s community-led No Take Zone and Marine Protected Area? Your main tasks will be to assist in centre management and visitor experience, communications and outreach.
Information pack available here.
New COAST community advisors
Our new COAST Community Advisory Panel members are:
Hayley Woodroffe - a keen snorkeller and kayaker who is involved with an island-wide campaign on plastic free coastlines.
Donald McNicol - a key volunteer during the past year, project managing the renovation of the Octopus Centre, dealing with contractors and rolling up his sleeves to get many a job done.
Luke Nelson - a student at Arran High School, very knowledgeable about local marine life and a great help at our outreach events. 
Everyone's Clyde
The Clyde Marine Planning Partnership sought input from Clyde communities at a well attended workshop in Ardrossan for the development of a regional marine plan. The participants were very enthusiastic about two short animations that describe how the new assessment of our marine region was written and the condition of shellfish, fish and seabed habitats in the Clyde. Many were keen to understand how the partnership works and if and how they could be represented. Sign up to their newsletter here or email the CMPP for more information.
Salmon Farming Inquiry on TV
Dip into the Committee evidence session video to get a flavour of what was discussed at the ECCLR Committee. Dr Hughes from SAMS claimed MPAs and aquaculture can coexist if the risk assessment says there is no impact on conservation features. However, Professor Callum Roberts, a recognised expert in MPAs and academic consultant for Blue Planet II, disagrees with this opinion: "The multiple environmental problems associated with open-cage salmon farming have been thoroughly established by scientific research. Individually, many impacts represent a serious risk to the conservation objectives of marine protected areas. Collectively, they guarantee an unacceptable level of impact. Open cage salmon farms are incompatible with the conservation objectives of protected areas and should not be sited within them."

Evidence pouring in
Many scientific gaps and issues about the SAMS report, comissioned to inform the inquiry, have been highlighted by Scottish Natural Heritage, the Scottish Creel Fishing Federation and a long list of key stakeholders.

Revealing written evidence, like Aileen Robertson's from Skye, highlight how the industry and government's plans to double salmon farming in Scotland would affect local sustainable livelihoods where she lives; creel fisheries, sea angling, shellfish farming, wildlife tours and the local dive centre would be affected with up to 11 jobs lost to environmental damage from fish farms. Charlotte Goodlet emphasizes this point as her husband is a scallop diver and creel fisherman and she runs a small scale edible seaweed harvest enterprise. They too rely on healthy seas.
Species of the month: Peacock worm (Sabella pavonina)
Arran's snorkellers were exploring the waters on the doorstep of COAST's new offices when they saw, in the sandy shallows, this long and slender peacock worm. Living permanently in a smooth, flexible, muddy tube, about a third of the 30cm long worm projects above the seabed, exposing it's head to feed using a daisy-like crown of feathery tentacles. Read more here.
Videos of the Month
We were delighted that the Lamlash Bay Community Marine Reserve was featured in Greenpeace International's campaign video showcasing three of the world's working marine reserves! 
 
Ocean Defenders visit Arran
Arran school pupils are ready to convince local businesses and suppliers to find alternatives to plastic straws. This follows a visit from Sunnyside Primary Ocean Defenders who brought their #NaeStrawAtAw campaign to Arran as you can see on this BBC video. 11 year old Ocean Defender Megan said: "The ocean is our future and we need to protect it. The Ocean Defenders can't do that on our own so we need help from other children. We can tell the Arran pupils are up to the challenge."
Electric Fishing Ban
The European Parliament voted in January to ban electric fishing (EF) in Europe (402 to 232 MEPs); COAST joined a powerful coalition of fishers and NGOs joined to support the French NGO BLOOM. Meanwhile, in Scotland, Cabinet Secretary Fergus Ewing is persisting with electrofishing trials to open up yet another fishery. EF is to be tested in 10 trial areas (including the East Clyde) with no baseline environmental impact assessment (just a stock assessment). Marine Scotland have postponed trials in the Sound of Barra and Luce Bay Special Areas of Conservation subject to further assessment as a result of concerns raised by Scottish Natural Heritage .
Coming soon!
Join filmmaker Ed Webb-Ingall for a free weekend filmmaking workshop on Sat 3rd & Sun 4th March. The final films produced from this and other workshops will be screened around Scotland, launching on Arran in the Screen Machine this July. Places are limited so to find out more and book a place contact Invisible Dust here.
The St Andrews Chamber Orchestra are holding a family concert in aid of COAST on Saturday 17th March at 5pm in Lochranza Village Hall.
'A Plastic Voyage' film evening
What a great turn out to the viewing of Sky Ocean Rescue's 'A Plastic Voyage' at COAST, documenting the exciting summer journey around Britain by the eXXpedition ladies. After the film, almost 50 people shared their ideas on how Arran could have a plastic-free coastline. To get involved please contact us.
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COAST - Community of Arran Seabed Trust · Old Pavilion · Lamlash · Isle of Arran, North Ayrshire KA27 8LS · United Kingdom