COAST December 2017 Newsletter                                                              View this email in your browser
All COAST wants for Christmas is...

2017 has been a great year for COAST, with more community members than ever joining us and renovating Arran's new marine hub on Lamlash Bay. From this centre we explore, research, educate and campaign for sustainable coastal and marine activities in our Marine Protected Area.
Last week we were surprised to see budget cuts for SNH and SEPA, Scotland's environmental advisers and regulators. Our government needs to put its money where its mouth is; Nicola Sturgeon and her Cabinet Secretaries have committed to EU law, protecting biodiversity and "urgent action" on climate change. “my ambition is to carry through not just the letter of EU environmental law but also the underlying principles of precaution, prevention and rectifying pollution at source, as well as the ‘polluter pays’ principle”.  This is vital for Arran, where our livelihood and wellbeing depend on healthy, biodiverse coasts and seas.
 
So here is what we want for Christmas and we'll be working hard in 2018 to make it happen!

#1 A profound reform of Scotland's open cage salmon industry and inshore fisheries management. Arran is determined to pioneer local, inclusive and fair marine planning and management. Our community’s voice continues to be heard via COAST’s presence in the Salmon Aquaculture Reform Network Scotland (SARNS) and the Clyde Marine Planning Partnership (CMPP).

#2 More coastal community empowerment. We are excited and proud to be part of the Coastal Communities Network; agents of change for marine conservation and management in Scotland, we'll be sharing our knowledge, experiences and resources. The Islands Bill may give islands more say in the licensing of local marine development but we believe activities like scallop dredging and fish farming need to be included.

#3 Open our community-led marine activity centre in Lamlash by summer 2018, following some final renovation works and purchase of equipment. Our base of local supporters and volunteers keeps growing: local designers, accountants, school children, plumbers, engineers, biologists, lawyers, musicians, swimmers, teachers, artists and divers will continue to help us make a success story of our MPA. We can't wait to start with new indoor and outdoor activities and learning opportunities for everyone!

#4 Enhanced protection of Scotland’s priority marine features and effective management of our protected areas. We can’t afford any more ‘legal destruction’ like Loch Carron; Roseanna Cunningham introduced an emergency MPA and dredging ban after the event.  Management measures in 50% of the designated protected areas have yet to be put in place by the government Marine Scotland Protected Area Management and this continues to be delayed.

#5 More citizen-led science with volunteers and research students. We’ll be working on more participatory research projects where the community can find out the answers to its own questions about fishing effort, water quality, seabed restoration, MPA compliance, and other local issues. We'll continue to collaborate with universities and key partners in Scotland.

A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!

Photo credit: Natalie Lambie. COAST outdoor activity with Lamlash Primary School.
Fish need mixture of seabed landscapes
The University of Glasgow has proved the importance of a diverse and varied seabed landscape for the health and protection of Atlantic cod and other fish. Their research has been based on predictive mapping and examining a 250km2 area around the South Arran MPA from June to September in 2013 and 2014. 

Their findings suggest that marine conservation policies need to consider the mixture of different features and how they could benefit the wider ecosystem. It may not be enough to focus on protecting particular features such as seagrass and coralline algae beds. Photo of juvenile Atlantic cod in Lamlash Bay No Take Zone.

Aliens in the MPA?
After 20 years of research, Moroz has found that our breathtaking comb jellies could represent an evolutionary experiment that has been running for half a billion years. A sort of Evolution 2.0 "has invented neurons, muscles and other specialised tissues, independently from the rest of the animal kingdom, using different starting materials". Read more here. Photo of comb jelly in the South Arran MPA.
Santa Claws on Arran
We are very grateful to all our volunteers who have been helping out at the Christmas market, school activities and Arran's Santa Sparkle making glitter-free crafts. 
Videos of the Month

Take a dive with us into the South Arran MPA to discover the wonders of Arran's Green Planet.

We love this video of maerl beds by Natural England. Maerl is just one of Scotland's Priority Marine Features protected by the South Arran MPA.
Communities plan for citizen science in Scotland
SNH and FFI organised a workshop for the Scottish Coastal Communities Network to prioritise what we would like to monitor and why, and how we can make it happen. We are planning on sharing and developing our plans and resources for coastal and marine monitoring within each of our communities. 
Breaking news: 
Ullapool and Sunnyside Primary School students have got all Ullapool cafes, bars & restaurants to stop using plastic straws through their #NaeStrawAtAw campaign. Well done!
Stop the Plastic Tide
Results from this year’s Great British Beach Clean are in!
The Marine Conservation Society announced earlier this month that the 2017 survey recorded a 10% increase in litter collected compared to last year. Up to 20% of all litter collected was ‘on the go litter’ – from coffee cups to plastic straws to plastic bottles and cups. If you want to learn more about this issue, come along on February 9 to COAST's new centre. Two eXXpedition members will be showing us their film: A Plastic Tide. Photo of volunteer Jenny Wright carrying out a survey.
Congratulations!
We are really proud of our colleagues at FIDRA who have received the Nature of Scotland Award for The Great Nurdle Hunt, which many locals here on Arran have been involved with, keeping their eyes peeled on our beaches for these small plastic pellets that make up most of our plastic products. We're also thrilled that the SWT have been awarded for setting up some great Snorkelling Trails in NW Scotland. Here on Arran, COAST and our local snorkelling group have been exploring sites around our Marine Protected Area to add more trails to the network; here is a snorkelling video taken by Simon Sloan this December in Blackwaterfoot. Cold but beautiful!
Dead Salmon Run and Lamlash Bay
It has taken a BBC investigation for the One Show - shown on the 11th and 12th of December - to get the issues surrounding the Scottish salmon crisis to be raised at the Scottish Parliament. A full inquiry is being conducted by the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee of MSPs following a petition from S&TCS.
Here on Arran, the Scottish Salmon Company has delayed submitting a planning application to North Ayrshire Council (NAC) and a license application to the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency after revealing draft proposals. Arran's community and COAST remain diligent over the festive period.  This follows six public meetings, plus requests that NAC use their discretion to take on community views during the early part of the planning process.
Tribute to Alasdair Macleod
We are deeply saddened by the loss of Applecross creel fisherman Alasdair Macleod. Many of us followed his blog, a window into his experience and thoughts as a fisherman with a sustainable way of life that many of us admired. He was also brave enough to speak out on the issues concerning fisheries and the environment that mattered to him. Our most sincere condolences are with his wife Alison and family.
Photo Credit: Brian Gillman CC 3.0
Species of the month: Star ascidian (Botryllus schlosseri)
These animals are our closest invertebrate relatives and can be found on slow-moving or stationary animals and plants along the shore. Each individual has its own intake siphon, but the colony shares a common outflow in the centre of the 'star'. Found in many different colours, these purple-white beauties were found in Whiting Bay by Nicola from the Arran Outdoor Education Centre.
Copyright © 2017 COAST - Community of Arran Seabed Trust, All rights reserved.
Please send any comments of suggestions to email@arrancoast.com

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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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