• Community of Arran Seabed Trust
  • Community of Arran Seabed Trust
  • Community of Arran Seabed Trust
  • Community of Arran Seabed Trust
  • Community of Arran Seabed Trust
  • Community of Arran Seabed Trust
  • Community of Arran Seabed Trust
  • Community of Arran Seabed Trust
  • Community of Arran Seabed Trust
  • Community of Arran Seabed Trust
  • Community of Arran Seabed Trust
  • Community of Arran Seabed Trust
  • Community of Arran Seabed Trust

Scotland’s Marine Protected Area network at risk

St Kilda, South Arran and other MPAs attacked by Clyde Fishermen’s Association Honorary Vice-Chair and Conservative MSP Jamie McGrigor – Pro MPA groups respond The Scottish Fishermen’s Federation and Clyde Fishermen’s Association stand accused by West Coast community groups of bullying the public and engaging in scare tactics in a bid to derail the Scottish Government’s implementation of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). Jamie McGrigor MSP (Cons) is attempting to have fisheries management measures for 14 MPAs (including one around St Kilda World Heritage Site) annulled, placing the whole network at risk. Community groups, marine conservation campaigners, sea anglers and many creel and dive fishermen have shown strong support for effective MPAs. Representatives from some of these groups will be demonstrating support for MPAs outside the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday, January 27 from 8am in a bid to expose an attempt by some in the mobile sector (trawl and dredge operators), to use their influence on the Rural Affairs and Environment Committee (RACCE) to unravel the process of making legal protection for MPAs apply to fishermen. Howard Wood, a diver who has witnessed first-hand 40 years of seabed degradation and a spokesperson for network member COAST, which campaigns to protect Arran's waters, said: “It is time that the Clyde and Scotland’s seas were sustainably managed. The Clyde has the potential to be much more than just a prawn fishery and to support far more fishing and marine jobs.’ ‘The CFA’s claims that MPAs will impact jobs are wildly overstated. Marine Scotland economists estimate that only 3% of turnover will be affected and even this can be off-set by fishing elsewhere. MPAs will also create new jobs in the creel and dive sector, not to mention angling and tourism. Continued delays are at a huge cost to the public purse - and could be at a catastrophic cost to the inshore environment.’ Diyanne Ross of Sea Change a community group campaigning for Wester Ross MPA says: “The findings from the consultations could not be more clear. Our inshore waters must be protected from these destructive forms of fishing or the people of Scotland risk losing these critical marine habitats and fish nursery grounds forever. This is what many traditional fishing folk and coastal communities want and what an overwhelming consensus of marine scientists tell us must happen.” Ian Burret a spokesman for the Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network (SSACN) who have pushed hard for Common Skate MPAs points out: "With fewer fish and fewer fishermen the status quo is a failed policy. A healthy and productive sea is essential to the economy of coastal communities around Scotland. Too often decisions about the inshore marine environment are made solely according to the needs of one section of the fishing industry and without the involvement, co-operation or input from the recreational and tourism industries." Nick Riddiford of the Fair Isle Marine Environment and Tourism Initiative (FIMETI) has commented: ‘Any backward step at this time has negative ramifications for the entire MPA network. We expect the Scottish Government to stay the course and ensure our seas are managed in the interests of the marine environment and all of us who rely upon its good health.’ Andrew Binnie COAST’s Executive Director said "The latest move to annul MPAs highlights the false assumption that our seas should be managed for just one stakeholder. COAST favours a mixed fishery with sensible spatial management underpinning fair access for all fishermen and new opportunities for marine recreation…Many in the more sustainable creel and dive sectors as well as sea anglers support a reintroduction of an inshore exclusion zone.’’ Coastal groups say it is time for a new vision of the sea managed in the broad public interest. They are joining together to demand that fisheries management for all Scottish Marine Protected Areas is ratified by Holyrood as a matter of urgency. Issued by the Community of Arran Seabed Trust with the support of the various groups quoted above. Contacts: • Andrew Binnie, COAST 0796 845 3827, 01770 600656, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (COAST can provide photographs or footage of the marine environment) • Diyanne Ross , Sea Change, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. • Ian Burrett, SSACN, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. • Nick Riddiford, FIMETI, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. FURTHER BACKGROUND The SFF has an annual turnover of £6 million + and have had 5 years to present strong economic or scientific evidence. Their economic report submitted to RACCE was reviewed by Grid economics and called it “a very poor piece of work” and “if taken seriously, would significantly mislead decision makers. “ Read the report here: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/S4_RuralAffairsClimateChangeandEnvironmentCommittee/20151023_Scot_Env_LINK_letter_on_MPAs.pdf The Marine (Scotland) Act 2010, as well as the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009, requires that Scottish Ministers designate Nature Conservation MPAs as a contribution to a UK-wide network. The Inshore Marine Protected Area’s are driven by European legislation laid out in the Marine Strategy Framework Directive. MSFD Goals are “good environmental status” and MPA’s need to support ecosystem biodiversity which is “coherent and representative” by the year 2020. Designated Marine Protected Areas still include trawling: • 36% of South Arran MPA will still be trawled. • Upper Loch Fyne is largely open as usual for mobile gear. • The existing trawl area within Wester Ross is only reduced by 29%. There are numerous scientific studies that demonstrate that dredgers and trawlers damage the sea bed, their own target species (prawns and scallops), as well as other species, the habitat and the wider ecosystem. The inshore area’s protected include nursery and spawning habitats for both fin-fish and shellfish fisheries. Groups like COAST (South Arran MPA), Sea Change (Wester Ross MPA) and others have produced socio-economic assessments of the impact of MPA’s in their areas which concluded the MPA’s benefits outweighed the costs and they provided substantial gains for fragile west coast coastal communities. Widespread public support for MPA’s is evidenced by local petitions and the support for community groups supporting MPA’s. In Wester Ross two community councils supported the MPA’s in written statements to Marine Scotland during the consultation period and a local petition supporting MPA’s received 744 signatures in a few weeks. In Coigach, the community opposite the Summer Isles Archipelago, had nearly 50 % of the electoral roll sign in favour of the MPA. The Coastal groups all support low impact sustainable fisheries. Scotland's modest network of MPAs has been called the greatest historic opportunity for Scotlands Sea’s see (http://www.gov.scot/Topics/marine/marine-environment/mpanetwork) The Clyde has been described by Marine Scotland as being 'like used agricultural land in need of restoration'. Hundreds of angling, tourism and fishing jobs have been lost already. see for further information: (http://www.gov.scot/Publications/2012/06/7562/2#para2.1.1) , TIMELINE OF CONSULTATIONS ON MPAs The consultation process for designations and management orders has taken 5 years. Designations were based on scientific evidence supplied by SNH and JNCC. Marine Consultations held so far: 5 National workshops (2011 and 2012) 9 management options events (April – July 2013) 56 Planning Scotland’s Seas events (August – October 2013) 11 Displacement events (February - March 2014) 3 Phase 1 regional management forum events (October 2014) 14 Management consultation events (November 2014 to January 2015) 3 Phase 2 regional management forum events (May 2015) This does not include full consultations of 12 week + held before designations and in advance of management decisions. Three of the inshore MPA’s including Wester Ross have had 3 management consultations in a year - driven by the mobile gear lobby’s demands for more consultation. Feb 2015, August 2015, Jan 2016.