CAOLAS is part of a network of other Scottish community coastal groups interested in protecting and preserving our special marine environment. One of the Coastal Communities Network members has been in the news again, with COAST (based in Arran), alongside Network associates Open Seas, exposing the low number of fisheries infringements taken forward by Marine Scotland Compliance. The article highlights allegations of illegal trawling within the South Arran Marine Protected Area and calls of sustained poor enforcement - despite the actions of vigilant coastal communities.
This comes alongside a report last week that Scottish creel fishermen say they are frustrated at slow progress over proposals for a major industry overhaul. The Scottish Creel Fishermen’s Federation (SCFF) commissioned a report into the potential benefits of banning trawlers from inshore waters. Its findings suggested 400 new boats could join the fleet if a ban covered the first three miles from the shore. The SCFF says “little progress” has been made since the report was presented to ministers in May 2017.
It certainly seems that the time is right for change - please do keep adding your voices to the debate in any way possible, including responding to the currently open Government Consultations relating to the environment.
Click the button below to visit the Coastal Communities Network website.
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.
CAOLAS looks to respond to any consultations which impact on our coastal and marine environment. One such consultation exercise is from Marine Scotland and the deadline was 24thAugust.
Marine Scotland is looking for views on the proposed large scale harvesting of wild seaweed on the West Coast of Scotland. CAOLAS along with other groups which form the Coastal Communities Network has submitted a response as we are deeply concerned with aspects of the proposal to mechanically harvest up to 30,000 tonnes of kelp a year over a 20km2 area, with the use of specially built or re-purposed vessels. Kelp forests are among the most biologically diverse and valuable marine habitats on the planet, and are recognised as a Priority Marine Feature habitat within Scotland’s seas. We believe that the proposal to mechanically harvest wild kelp on the West Coast of Scotland will result in a significant negative impact to this habitat, and to the wider ecosystems of the West Coast.
Scotland holds a significant proportion of the UK records of kelp beds and therefore the habitat is considered to be nationally important. The benefits that kelp beds bring to the marine ecosystem are multi-fold:
CAOLAS, as a member of the Coastal Communities Network, Scotland, is calling for this operation not to be taken forward in its current form, and for investment to instead be directed into the development of sustainable seaweed farming methods as a viable alternative.
Please click the button below to follow through the 'Change.org' website and sign the petition against Mechanical Kelp Dredging before it is too late!
If you want to read more and keep updated with new, visit their Facebook page.