COAST Newsletter, April 2016
View this email in your browser

Will election candidates support inclusive marine governance?

COAST have asked all local candidates and leaders of the main political parties for their views on effective marine management and the inclusion of coastal communities on marine decision making groups.

Despite the commitment and achievements of grassroots communities like COAST, we are still not recognized as a legitimate stakeholder by some. This is the case of the Clyde Forum, now transforming into the Clyde Regional Planning Partnership, from which COAST have been excluded despite repeated requests to join their steering group.

The next Scottish Government needs to urgently address effective management of Scottish seas for the benefit of all. Our seas are, after all, a public asset and a national resource. The closed-shop mentality of Scotland’s Inshore Fisheries Groups (IFGs) is largely responsible for dividing communities instead of bringing them together as became obvious at the Holyrood demonstrations earlier this year. We can look elsewhere for good practice in marine governance, the IFG English equivalent, Inshore Fisheries Conservation Authorities, include a diverse and representative selection of marine stakeholders.

Industry-led marine management (including fisheries management) contradicts some of the main objectives of the Land Reform and the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Bill. These are to progress community ownership, strengthen community's voices in the decisions that matter to them and improve the processes of community planning.  

COAST will be asking Marine Scotland about effective compliance, monitoring and public information and participation for the South Arran MPA. We envision a collaborative and adaptive approach in which communities, industry, scientists and government can plan, work and learn together while harnessing the potential benefits of our Marine Protected Area for nature and people.

Marine Discovery Centre Plans
Many COAST supporters came together to celebrate the legal enforcement of the South Arran MPA and to brainstorm on resources and activities for the new Marine Discovery Centre. Proactive community support and involvement will be sought from the very beginning and islanders have been invited to a public meeting to discuss plans towards the end of April.
COAST update 
Winter has been busy! We have been sharing our experience and plans at the Cold Water Island Tourism Conference and the Porcupine Conference at Millport as well as with Edinburgh Napier students. We were thrilled to visit enthusiastic children and teachers at Sunnyside Primary School in Glasgow, and a local primary school in Corrie. Local and visiting families enjoyed a very wet and wild Easter Egg Beach Hunt. Our Marine Mobile will soon be out and about, touring the island, now fully kitted with a brand new microscope!
Videos of the month
Paul Greenberg
reveals "The four fish we're overeating" and suggests ways to change our practices.
Arran Youth Foundations' have produced "Scotland in Miniature" - a short Visit Arran video to promote the island.
Call for Volunteers 
Nurdles are the raw ingredient for the majority of plastic products, easily mistaken by marine animals and seabirds as food. The Great Nurdle Hunt uses information from citizen scientists to understand their abundancy and distribution to make the case to the plastics industry and government . If you would like to volunteer on Arran, read more information here about the project and how to sign up. A training day will be held on Friday, the 29th of April.
First Minister questioned on coastal communities 
Marine Community Support Officer, Kerri Whiteside, didn't hold back from the opportunity to take part in a Q&A session with Scottish First Minister, whilst travelling to the Shetland Isles. Nicola Sturgeon said she was well aware of the MPA process and that "Community involvement is essential if environmental projects are to succeed".
Seagrass friendly moorings 
Earlier this month, three new fixed visitor moorings were raised in Whiting Bay. The moorings have been relocated by 20 metres to prevent further damage to these important habitats for juvenile and adult fish in the South Arran MPA. The project was supported by Whiting Bay Improvements and North Ayrshire Council. If you spot seagrass where you live or visit, get in touch with the Seagrass Project who have an online database or mobile app available to record it. 
Indignation and sadness at 
Berta Cáceres assassination

Berta Cáceres, a member of the largest indigenous group in Honduras, was assassinated on the 4th of March, after being threatened for opposing one of Central America’s biggest hydropower projects. Our Chair, Howard Wood, met her last year when they both received the Goldman Environmental Prize: "In the brief time we spent with her we developed the highest respect and admiration for this courageous and lovely lady. Our hearts and thoughts go out to her family, friends and colleagues".
MPA Compliance guide
Many residents have been asking if and how they can report illegal fishing in the MPA. We have produced a user-friendly guide to compliance in the South Arran MPA. The K.I.P.P.E.R. Guide is now available online.
Species of the month: Sea Otter (Lutra lutra)
Arran is a great place to go for a coastal walk, whilst trying to catch a glimpse of the beautiful otter. Our otters have been busy nesting and, over the next few months, pups will be leaving the safety of their holts. Visit the shores at dawn or dusk, preferably on a rising tide, and you may get your own otter encounter just like local wildlife guideLucy Wallace.(Photo credit: Stuart Wallace)
Copyright ©2016 COAST - Community of Arran Seabed Trust, All rights reserved.
Please send any comments or suggestions to

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list