South Arran MPA now legally enforced
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Islanders celebrate birth of South Arran MPA

Marine Protected Areas welcomed by coastal communities, progressive fishermen and eNGOs

Representatives from coastal communities, scallop divers, sea anglers and  conservation organisations showed their passion and support for MPAs at Holyrood last month, coinciding with a Rural Affairs Committee debate on the future of MPAs. To the delight of thousands of MPA supporters on Arran and throughout Scotland, the committee voted against a motion to annul MPAs by Jamie McGrigor (cons) MSP by seven votes to two.

COAST's Andrew Binnie comments: 'The Scottish Government's refusal to buckle to scaremongering from the mobile prawn lobby (also debunked in Scottish Environment LINK paper) means the South Arran MPA came into effect on 8th February 2016 along with legislation for a further 13 MPAs including the St Kilda World Heritage Site MPA. We are celebrating on Arran this week and looking forward to healthier and more productive seas around Arran and Scotland. This will benefit all marine stakeholders and future generations'.

Mr Lochhead, the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs also announced that the Wester Ross and Loch Sunart to Sound of Jura Marine Conservation Orders went before parliament on 5th of February, meaning they will come into effect in late March. Disappointingly, the Small Isles MPA will go back out to consultation and will now be delayed until at least the summer. COAST urges MPA supporters to keep the pressure on the Government to establish a credible Small Isles MPA as soon as possible and to move quickly forward with legislation for the second group of MPAs.

The South Arran MPA prohibits scallop dredging but still allows bottom trawling in outer areas of the MPA. Apart from in the existing small No Take Zone in Lamlash Bay sea angling is permitted within the entire area as well as all other recreational activities - See explanatory map of South Arran MPA

Harassment and media coverage
Our supporters braved storms, disrupted ferry services and sadly, harassment in the form of eggs and a smoke bomb from some mobile prawn lobby protesters, while demonstrating support for MPAs at Holyrood. This behaviour and the factually incorrect and abusive comments we receive on social media nearly every day are bringing the mobile industry into disrepute.

Media Links Media interest and coverage of the demonstration was comprehensive. Read what these outlets had to say: BBC, Scotsman, Herald, For Argyll
CommonSpace and Bella Caledonia
 
COAST team at large
Welcome back Jenny Stark, who has joined our team as a Marine Outreach Officer. COAST is now pushing forward with its marine education programme. We have given talks at Lamlash and Whiting Bay Primary Schools and with visiting schools at the Arran Outdoor Education Centre. We also plan to visit schools in Glasgow. The Easter Shore Scramble is coming up soon, so keep an eye on our website or facebook page.
Meanwhile our roving ambassador Andy Telford has met Cambodian Goldman Prize winner Tuy Sereivathana who has shared his insights on community-led conservation.
New MPA Marine Discovery Centre
Community and visitor surveys have shown a real demand for a Marine Discovery Centre on Arran. COAST is now fundraising to make this project come true. If you would like to support us please get in touch.

MPA celebration
If you would like to attend a short MPA presentation, a Q&A session and give us your ideas for future developments please join us at the Arran Outdoor Education Centre in Lamlash at 2pm today, 10th Feb.
Boosting blue growth on Arran
COAST will be engaging with island businesses next month and presenting at the second Cold Water Island Tourism Conference on Arran. We'll also be supporting marine tourism and leisure activities by promoting ways to integrate "marine discovery" into visitors' holidays.
Compliance challenges ahead
Marine Scotland Compliance are responsible for fisheries protection in MPAs and all Scottish waters.Suspicious activity should be reported to http://www.gov.scot/Topics/marine/Compliance/suspiciousactivity. We will be producing a guide to help people effectively report any suspected illegal fishing.
Three thousand citizen scientists on their way!
The Oban-based Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) is the only Scottish partner of an exciting new project: "Capturing our Coast" which launched in January. Dr Grist from SAMS said:" ...people with no, or little scientific background can work alongside academics to provide extremely important data for environmentalists and governments and ultimately play an important part in how their local coastline is managed and protected". Read more on the SAMS website.

Research & presentations
Our Board member Tom Appleby, presented "The UK Scallop Fisheries. A fundamental review" at the Coastal Futures conference. We'll also be sharing COAST's experience at the Millport conference in March, addressing ocean literacy and citizen science.
Videos of the month
Cartoon crash course on Marine Protected Areas here
Lochhead's eloquent defence of Scotland's MPAs and the silenced majority here
Species of the month: Sea potatoes
Also known as the “heart urchin”, this sea urchin is found in sheltered, sandy beaches living in burrows up to 15cm in depth. Unlike their spikey cousins, sea potatoes have felt-like spines which point backwards for lengths of up to 9cm. Look out for their 'tests' (shells) washed up on our shores and read more about them here.
Copyright ©2016 COAST - Community of Arran Seabed Trust, All rights reserved.
Please send any comments or suggestions to email@arrancoast.com


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