The Loch Sunart to Sound of Jura MPA came into force in 2016 to protect our resident population of common (or flapper) skate, the world’s largest skate species. The Government in the form of Marine Scotland currently has very limited resources to monitor our inshore waters, so our friends in the Community of Arran Seabed Trust (COAST) put together a short guide to reporting illegal fishing in the MPA and this is being reproduced by other coastal community groups. It is called it the K.I.P.P.E.R. guide.
K– Know your MPA zoning
I– Identify and describe vessel and activity
P– Place on a map
E– Exact time and date
R– Report to Marine Scotland
As yet we do not have a KIPPER guide specific to the two principle MPAs in our area. So, to help you in this important role, we are putting links to the ‘South Arran KIPPER Guide’ and also a ‘Suspicious Activity Reporting Form’ at the bottom of this blog entry.
Please do take the time to become familiar with the boundaries of the MPAs around us and also to become familiar with what to look out for and how to report it properly. There is anecdotal (and often stronger) evidence that some skippers are openly flaunting the MPA boundaries (not necessarily in our region) and are being allowed to get away with it. It is only through persistent and accurate reporting of such incidents that we can ever hope to change the attitudes of ministers as well as the skippers themselves.