Dredger ban for South Arran Marine Protected Area and other west coast MPAs: COAST congratulates Richard Lochhead on listening to coastal communities, marine scientists and economists.
In a broadly welcome statement Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, announced yesterday that a Marine Conservation Order (MCO) will be put before parliament this week setting out conservation measures including banning the highly destructive practice of scallop dredging within the South Arran Marine Protected Area and other west coast MPAs. COAST has campaigned hard to end this damaging activity in Arran’s MPA which was designated in 2014 and we congratulate the Minister on listening to coastal communities, marine scientists and economists on this issue.
However, while Marine Scotland’s MCO goes some way to meeting the key objectives outlined by COAST for its community-led South Arran Marine Protected Area, it will still permit bottom trawling within significant areas of the MPA. They also propose to allow continued bottom trawling in the Upper Loch Fyne MPA. COAST will continue to press for an end to this practice during the one month consultation period and will also work with Scottish Environment LINK’s ‘Don’t Take the P’ campaign to ensure the best management possible for Scotland’s other 29 MPAs.
In collaboration with a number of other west coast communities the community on Arran is working incredibly hard to ensure local waters are effectively and equitably managed. For many decades now our inshore waters have been managed almost solely for the benefit of dredgers and bottom trawlers in one of Europe’s worst cases of regulatory capture (a situation in which a commercial vested interest effectively writes its own regulations with government acquiescence). This has been a disaster for the Clyde and the wider fishing community, particularly creelers, who represent the vast majority of inshore fishermen.
COAST’s Executive Director Andrew Binnie says: ‘Mr Lochhead and senior staff at Marine Scotland are to be applauded for taking one of the first concrete steps towards achieving a healthy and productive Clyde by 2020. The Clyde’s MPAs have a significant part to play in achieving this vision and the removal of dredgers from the Arran MPA is very positive. While we have real issues with the continuation of bottom trawling in the outer areas of the MPA and within Upper Loch Fyne we will be working with Marine Scotland to resolve these during the one month consultation period.'
Howard Wood, Winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize and COAST’s Chair expressed surprise at the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation (SFF) sudden lack of support for the Marine Conservation Orders after earlier declaring themselves supportive of MPAs.
‘It is clear that all stakeholders have had to make compromises as we are being asked to do and we had expected the SFF to show enlightened self-interest at this late stage in the process. It should be obvious to everyone that healthy productive seas will be a huge benefit to all marine stakeholders.’
For further information:
Contact: Andrew Binnie on 01770 600656 or 0796 845 3827
Links to relevant documents: