COAST Newsletter - April 2017
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Coastal waters our brightest asset
But weak aquaculture and inshore fisheries management threatens our future

Spring has arrived and Easter visitors have been enjoying our local seafood and waters. Many, though, have asked us what’s happening with our campaign to prevent the expansion of Lamlash fish farm. Lamlash Bay is the most popular marine recreation area on Arran attracting divers, triathlon swimmers, skiff rowing competitions and young sailors. Jumping off the old pier is a tradition. It's no wonder then that locals and visitors are angry at the prospect of more fish waste and chemical treatments being poured straight into our bay and the South Arran Marine Protected Area.

Questions have been asked about the relationship between the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and the salmon farming industry. SEPA is clearly under pressure from the industry and the Scottish Government to OK further expansion. At the same time, over 45 sea lochs in Scotland have been found to be polluted by salmon farm chemicals toxic to lobsters and crabs. While our Scandi neighbours in Norway are cracking down on open cage salmon farming, we are importing their eggs to be farmed in our seas. Why should our communities pay the environmental costs of this industry?

It’s time to do something. As part of a broad alliance of communities and groups, we want to propose a different way forward for the development of coastal and island economies which can offer local quality seafood and services without compromising our coasts and seas. Today we are urging the Scottish Government to reject the expansion of Lamlash fish farm and open-cage fish farming in Scotland and move to land-based closed-containment systems which do not pollute our waters. Aquaculture and inshore fisheries reform must be a key manifesto pledge for all parties in council, Scottish and UK elections, including the forthcoming general election expected on 8th June.

Career Opportunity: Do you have the skills to lead Scotland's internationally acclaimed community-based marine conservation group? If so, COAST would like to hear from you. See article below.

"The Octopus" - New marine hub blog
If you would like to keep up-to-date, get involved or help us get the new marine hub up and running on Arran please visit our new blog, 'THE OCTOPUS', supplied with news and stories from our great volunteers. Please help us fund this new centre with your donations.
Ewing spooting forth

Instead of clamping down on illegal electro-fishing for razor clams, Fergus Ewing and Marine Scotland are allowing a scientific trial (reminding us of 'scientific' Japanese whaling) to develop this fishery and avoid EU regulation. The captain of the Minna, Scotland's only inshore compliance vessel, Stuart Gregor, says more than 20 boats are now operating out of west coast harbours and hundreds of tonnes of razor clams are being shipped to the far east every week. Like dredging, electro-fishing is a recent development and can severely damage other life in our seabeds. Read a related article  here and the consultation analysis and response here.

Species of the month: Smallspotted catshark (Scyliorhinus canicula)
This species, also referred to as a dogfish, is the most common shark found in UK waters. From November to July, these sharks lay their treasured "mermaids' purses" - distinctive brown egg capsules - on seaweed, secured by long curly tendrils. After around 9 months, a tiny 9cm shark hatches and the egg cases often wash up on our beaches. If you find a purse of your own, don't forget to report it to The Great Eggcase Hunt!  
Eggstraordinary sea life & a wild summer
We opened COAST's outreach season this Saturday with the first of our new "Wild Workshops". Over 100 young participants learnt about amazing sea eggs and ocean baby stories happening right here in our MPA. For upcoming events check out our programme here
Reaching out -  around the Clyde and beyond
School children from Arran, Girvan, Kilmarnock and Irvine have been learning about marine life and conservation with COAST this spring. Our team has also been sharing our experience and ideas with students from SAMS, Edinburgh-Napier and Queen Margaret Universities and coastal and marine stakeholders from the Clyde Marine Planning Partnership and the Irish Sustainable Water Network.
Healthy seabeds key for cod, haddock and whiting
A team of marine scientists, led by the University of Glasgow, has discovered that seabed conditions are key to the survival of cod, haddock and whiting after conducting surveys around the coasts of the South Arran Marine Protected Area. Read more here.
Videos of the month 
'Eaten alive - End of an era' shows how big salmon farming businesses are impacting wild salmon and sea-trout on the west coast. This film, commissioned by Salmon and Trout Conservation Scotland, explains how Loch Maree stopped being the world's premier destinations for sea-trout and lost most of the jobs this activity supported.

We also loved 2016 highlights of wildlife watching around Oban and the Inner Hebrides by Basking Shark Scotland.
Andrew to set sail
COAST’s Executive Director, Andrew Binnie, is moving on at the end of June to work freelance on new projects. Andrew led our successful campaign for the South Arran Marine Protected Area, built our organisational capacity and negotiated last-year's purchase of a shore-side site in Lamlash - soon to become our new HQ.

Andrew accepting COAST's Nature of Scotland Marine Award in 2014

COAST Chair, Howard Wood, OBE said,We have been very fortunate to have had someone of Andrew’s calibre and commitment for the last six years. His wide ranging expertise, passion and determination, have been critical to our evolution and achievements. Thanks to him we are well prepared to continue our journey towards the sustainable use of our seas. While sorry to see Andrew move on, we wish him all the very best in his future ventures and adventures!'
Andrew said,It’s a real wrench to be leaving such a dynamic group. However, I am looking forward to contributing to progressive marine management in new ways and to continuing my association with my colleagues and friends here on Arran and around Scotland. It’s been a privilege working with Howard and the COAST team during such an exciting period.'
Career at COAST!
We are now seeking a new Director (Operations and Development). If you think you have the skills to lead an internationally acclaimed marine group based on the beautiful Isle of Arran click here for our application pack.
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COAST - Community of Arran Seabed Trust · Old Pavilion · Lamlash · Isle of Arran, North Ayrshire KA27 8LS · United Kingdom

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