COAST Newsletter - October 2016
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Protection agency set to approve salmon farm expansion in Arran's MPA

West coast communities fighting for more say in MPA mangement

The Scottish Salmon Company might sound like a purveyor of wild salmon owned and run by our fellow Scots. But unfortunately, this is not the case. As many west coast communities know to their cost, the SSC is in fact a large internationally-based corporation aiming to increase the number and capacity of fish farms in Scottish waters - whether or not communities want them. Many do not. COAST does not oppose on-shore contained fish farming but believes, with good reason, that net cage farming is detrimental to wild salmon and other marine life. It is therefore regrettable that, once again, the people of Arran are having to devote scarce resources to fighting off a proposed expansion of net cage salmon farming in Lamlash Bay. This expansion is within a stone's throw of the No Take Zone and in the recently designated South Arran Marine Protected Area. It is clearly not compatible with the conservation and restoration status of priority marine features in the MPA, such as the nearby recovering maerl beds and seagrass meadows. Despite this, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) seems to be under pressure from commercial interests to give its approval. 

This is short-sighted and must not be allowed to happen. We are asking the new Cabinet Secretary, Roseanna Cunningham, to 'call in' this application and reject it on environmental grounds. Scotland's hard-won MPA network must not become an easy option for fish farms. It is vital that MPAs such as Arran's are not put under further pressure. There are far more sustainable and creative ways in which we can benefit economically from our MPAs. Communities need to be able to focus on these and not have to take action against those who would seek to undermine Scotland's MPAs before they have had a chance to flourish.

The Scottish Salmon Think Tank has an excellent and very readable web site on this topic. 

Top ten ideas from West Coast tour
It is amazing how much you can learn in just 24 hours. Our COAST team’s whistle-stop tour to visitor centres up the West Coast of Scotland left us buzzing with ideas and inspiration. Read about our favourite 10 approaches here.
Burn some energy beach cleaning!
COAST were lucky enough to receive funding from the HP Beach Clean Up Fund and we have been busy cleaning the local coast with all our wonderful volunteers! We recorded and collected over 60kg of litter as part of the MCS Great British Beach Clean. Take part in your own 2 minute beach clean and keep an eye out for exciting things like mermaid's purses whilst helping to keep your coast litter free!
Species of the Month: By-the-wind-sailor (Velella velella)
Velella, although jellyfish-like in appearance, are colonial hydroids. Their name derives from the sail-like disc (velum; a sail) which protrudes from the main blue oval disc - the float. The direction a Velella travels is dictated by the direction of the sail along the float. Find out more and discover life in an upside down world.
Razor clam electrofishing?
COAST has urged Marine Scotland to meet their current obligations to enforce the prohibition of electrofishing for razor clams instead of applying for a derogation to the EU to legalise this activity. Electrofishing damages stocks, sea beds, the fishing sector and potentially the health of consumers. Governmental action should focus on strengthening enforcement measures, building robust science to assess the impacts and exploring management options that can ensure the sustainable and integrated management of razor clam fisheries.
Don't take the P out of Small Isles MPA
The biggest of Scotland's inshore MPAs covers over 800 kmand is home to a colony of rare fan mussels, Britain's largest mollusc. COAST is concerned that the conservation measures proposed have now been watered down due to pressure from fishing interests. The deadline to respond to this consultation is the 16th of October. Make your voice heard!
"Porpoise soup" and other SAMPA Sightings
The Clyde Marine Mammal Project team, using a hydrophone in the waters of the Arran MPA, have found between 20 and 30 individuals, a real "porpoise soup". After a long wait, basking sharks have been sighted along the east coast of Arran and are being monitored by Basking Shark Scotland.
Cycle of life: Also reported to us have been the tail of a thornback ray and a dead seal. A harmful algal bloom killed many lugworms and heart urchins in the Clyde this summer.
Swimming in the Seagrass
COAST volunteer Claire Youdale has been helping Howard map Whiting Bay seagrass beds and Oliver Thomas, a Heriot-Watt MSc student, has been studying beds at Kildonan which may be under threat from wireweed (Sargasum muticum). Whiting Bay is looking healthy and we will be carrying out further surveys next summer. Our team have also produced a first baseline study of an unusually large aggregation of Monkey Puzzle bryozoans mapped in the South Arran MPA with assistance from Dr Jo Porter, again from Heriot-Watt University.
Rewilding the seas
COAST is thrilled to be part of an exciting new project that brings together photography and storytelling to make the case for a wilder Scotland: "SCOTLAND: The Big Picture".
Photographer Richard Shucksmith says: "The No Take Zone is a great place to see how rewilding can happen thanks to natural processes taking over. Talking with people on Arran I have realised how important the social impact of it has been, possibly as important if not more than its natural impact". Read more about COAST's involvement. 
Photo Credit: Alan Beasley.
Videos of the month
COAST celebrates the 100th Anniversary of the U.S. National Park Service
We also recommend viewing Turn The Tide: the Lochalsh Marine Protected Area, by the National Trust for Scotland, to discover the unique wildlife found in Lochs Duich, Long and Alsh.
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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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