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