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 Scotlandâ€™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.