Prawn lobby attack on Scotland's MPAs
Demonstration at Holyrood in support of MPAs next week
Not satisfied with having squeezed Scotland's Marine Protected Area network to a mere 3.5% of Scottish waters during 5 years of consultations, the Clyde-led prawn lobby is now seeking to have even this modest area annulled via the Rural Affairs and Environment Committee (RACCE) next Wednesday. This is a serious challenge to the democratically elected Scottish Government from a business lobby group who think they own Scotland's seas. If they succeed, the MPA network will be in tatters and our seas will be under their de facto management for decades to come. COAST will be representing the community that supports South Arran MPA at a demonstration at Holyrood on Wednesday the 27th from 8am and would be delighted if other MPA supporters were to join us. Please contact us for more details.
The attack on MPAs led by Mr Jamie McGrigor, a Scot Con MSP and Vice President of the Clyde Fishermen's Association (CFA) is surely the most shameful act of his political career. This act of attempted environmental vandalism takes the Scottish Tory party right back to the Thatcher era when they, at the behest of the CFA, ended the three mile limit on damaging bottom trawling. The result has been a disaster for the Clyde, which is now described by Marine Scotland as being 'like used agricultural land in need of restoration'. Hundreds of angling, tourism and fishing jobs have been wiped out. It seems that rather than working with others to recover fish stocks we are now dealing with a poorly led prawn-trawl lobby which is trying to scare Clyde communities. They would like folk to think MPAs will end life as we know it. In fact the South Arran MPA equates to about 5% of prawn trawl grounds in the Clyde; hardly cataclysmic. The Government's worst case estimates do not predict major negative economic impacts.
At a time when COAST and many other community groups on Scotland's West coast are doing all they can to bring new investment to our islands and coastal towns it is regrettable that the CFA, SFF and others are running down the Clyde's economic prospects for their own political ends. Scotland's modest network of MPAs offer us the first opportunity in decades to recover our degraded marine environment. It is clear to nearly everyone that marine health supports economic diversity and resilience. Our MPAs offer a small step forward for a brighter future for our seas and the communities which depend upon them. We urge you to show your support for Scotland's MPAs by contacting your MSP and by coming to the demonstration on Wednesday 27 January.
COAST has political support across all parties and has been endorsed by Annabel Goldie, a previous leader of the Scottish Conservatives as well as by the SNP, Scottish Labour, Liberals and the Greens.