CAOLAS aims to work with the local communities of Ardnamurchan, Sunart, Morvern and the Isle of Mull to encourage and promote the sustainable use of our local waters for recreation, fishing and other marine activities. We aim to protect and encourage the recovery of local biodiversity in the Sound of Mull, Loch Sunart and the marine coastal waters surrounding the Ardnamurchan and Morvern peninsulas.
Our Four Key Roles
We believe that through the four key roles highlighted below, we continue to work within our mission. We hope to raise awareness of the importance and value of our marine environment through education and information and to organise a diversity of activities throughout the year. We work to support the conservation and protection of our waters and to encourage research and monitoring of the biodiversity and quality. We also lobby policy and decision makers where change is required to strive to achieve positive outcomes and change.
CAOLAS is a small group of trustees committed to promoting marine conservation in our area whether that is through education, research, training or campaigning.
Our remit is broad, but since our inception in 2015, and registration as a charity in 2017, we have become recognised across Scotland.
Our principle focii are the Marine Protected Areas of Loch Sunart and the Loch Sunart to Sound of Jura, but we are interested and involved in all conservation of the waters off Ardnamurchan, Morvern and Moidart as well as more widely across the West Coast of Scotland.
With over 70% of the Earth's surface covered in water, and what is beneath the surface invisible to all but a few, there is often a neglect of our waters and oceans.
This should not be the case and CAOLAS wants to draw attention back to the seas and the wildlife in them through local events as well as national campaigns.
Below are brief biographies of our current committee members so you can discover a little of our backgrounds. We all bring a diversity of experience, interests and passions to CAOLAS to make it one of the most rounded and balanced community marine conservation groups on the West Coast of Scotland.
Please see further down this page for details on how you can lend your expertise to the work of CAOLAS and protecting our waters.
Annabel LawrenceAnnabel is the current Chair of CAOLAS. She has been a Marine Archaeologist since 1995 and ran the Lochaline Dive School for 10 years providing an in-depth interpretation of the shipwrecks in the Sound of Mull. Passionate about promoting whilst also protecting diving in the Sound of Mull, she initiated the creation of an artificial reef on a sunken naval vessel as a dive destination. She also lectures at the UHI in Fort William on their Marine Tourism Degree.
Dale MeeganDale is a freelance Project and Management Consultant specialising in community projects and has a keen interest in the local marine environment and environmental projects. After being contracted by Flora and Fauna International (FFI) in 2017, and successfully applying for funding with the West Highland Coastal Trust the same year, she was instrumental in helping CAOLAS establish itself as a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO). Since then Dale has continued to work with the Board as a Volunteer Support Worker for CAOLAS.
Karl has over 35 years experience in outdoor and environmental education having worked his way slowly northwards from Cornwall to Scotland. During this time he has worked in LEA and private centres with children as young as four and as old as 85! He also lectured in FE Colleges and HE Universities in England before moving to Scotland in 2016 and starting his own slow adventure tourism business, Otter Adventures. He has been a trustee since 2017 and manages CAOLAS' website and social media.
Laura started in the primary classroom, but later discovered a passion for environmental education. She achieved a MA in Environmental Education and was one of the first Forest School Development Officers in England. She spent 16 years as Education Officer in Shropshire before moving to Scotland in 2017 to run her own B&B, Otterburn in Strontian, where she encourages visitors to explore the area more. She is also the secretary of CAOLAS and has loved working with local schools on CAOLAS' educational projects.
Andy has lived in the area since the early 80s working in wildlife tourism, seafoods, engineering and as a charter boat skipper, with the last 17 years managing the island of Carna. Andy promotes ethical wildlife watching and monitoring, progressing into developing conservation and regenerative projects in the area. He is also a WiSe accredited operator with exceptional local knowledge. Andy is keen to help young people who want to learn boating, marine engineering, conservation and its management. Andy is a founder member of CAOLAS.
Alasdair FirthAlasdair is a crofter and consultant ecologist specialising in native woodlands and upland habitats. He works for Woodland Trust Scotland. He is also a sea kayaker and fisherman, often combing both at the same time. As well as an author of books on woodlands, he is occasionally found liaising with government ministers. His main focus with CAOLAS is on protecting the sea and the life within it and trying to make sure it is used sustainably.
Having been the Principle of Knott End Sea Centre teaching marine ecology in the field, usually from boats, Mark has considerable marine experience. He has also been a ministerial appointee to the Sea Fisheries Committee, a Director and Council Member of the Marine Conservation Society and was a joint founder of the Lancashire Marine Conservation Society. Mark now runs his own marine environmental consultancy, 'WA Marine & Environment', and is CAOLAS' marine biologist.
We are a small committee that needs more members and trustees with a range of experiences and backgrounds to expand our understanding and influence.
If you would like to join us, even on an occasional basis, please do get in touch with us using the contact form on this site and we will send you the relevant membership form.
"How inappropriate to call this planet Earth when it is quite clearly Ocean."
Arthur C. Clarke
Considering joining us?
We are always on the look out for new members as well trustees who share our passions for and interest in the conservation of marine habitats along the West Coast of Scotland.
If you would like to become a member - you do not have to become a trustee - please let us know.
If you don't fancy being a member or trustee, you could at least subscribe to our newsletter and receive a few electronic newsletters from us each year with updates on our campaigns and events that may interest you.