COAST publishes regular newsletters highlighting issues relating to the marine environment of Arran the Clyde, Scottish and international, coastal waters.
Scientists from across the United Kingdom are continuing our annual summer research programme within Lamlash Bay No Take Zone, and the newly designated South Arran Marine Protected Area.
Mathilda Evans, an MSc student from Edinburgh Napier University, joined COAST in June to conduct her ecotourism research project on Arran, looking into visitor interest in ‘marine-based activities’ and the readiness of Arran to make the most of the recently designated Marine Protected Area. Her research will be used by COAST to help realise the potential for marine-based tourist initiatives with local businesses, and will provide valuable insight into the general interest in marine issues, and the market for marine based activities.
Now time for Government ban on all scallop dredging within protected area!
It's been an exciting week for COAST and the Isle of Arran. The only entirely community-developed and proposed nature conservation marine protected area, the South Arran MPA, has now been designated by the Scottish Government. This was announced by Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and for the Environment, on 24 July 2014. Following three years of campaigning and consultation, the South Arran MPA was designated with 29 others (including two more in the Clyde) to form a network of MPAs around Scotland.
Could it be that the Scottish Government and Marine Scotland with advice from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), are showing the leadership our waters have long-needed? Marine Scotland and SNH certainly deserve praise for delivering the designation of the Scottish MPA network in the face of stiff opposition from vested interests. Both organisations have worked hard to achieve this and supported our proposal as part of the MPA network. SNH have conducted seabed studies mapping South Arran MPA species and habitats.
But much more needs to be done.
An account of the day by COAST board member Jim Henderson
I turned out on Saturday 14th June to assist COAST with transport and setting up their stall on Brodick beach, to meet a party arriving on the 0945 ferry. Little did I know what enjoyment the day was going to bring.
COAST set their stall by 10am and soon a few curious folks were calling by as they headed for the beach or to walk their dogs. COAST had organised a touch-tank full of a variety of creatures found around the shores of Arran. There was a stiff breeze, which caused a wee bit of bother erecting the pagoda. However the breeze soon abated and the day became very hot and humid at times.
COAST has been awarded a £3,000 grant from Arran Trust, Arran’s visitor gifting scheme which funds projects which look after the landscapes and environment of Arran.
The grant will fund the creation of a ‘Marine Mobile’ which will visit villages and locations around the island.
During the summer, the COAST team runs outdoor events including beach scrambles, beach art and marine-themed craft workshops, however the potential would be increased with a vehicle. COAST has therefore allocated funding to purchase a second-hand van and the Arran Trust grant will contribute to the costs of customising the vehicle as a marine interpretation unit.
Arran islanders welcome creation of South Arran MPA – only community-led marine protected area in Scotland
24 July 2014, Lamlash: Arran islanders and the Community of Arran Seabed Trust (COAST) have welcomed the Scottish Government’s announcement that the south of Arran is now a marine protected area (MPA).
The South Arran MPA is unique in being the only MPA proposed and developed entirely by a local community group, the Community of Arran Seabed Trust (COAST).
The South Arran Nature Conservation MPA was designated today as part of a Scotland-wide network of 30 MPAs including two more in the Clyde. Arran’s MPA aims to protect and restore sea grass and maerl beds as well as many other sensitive habitats and species which have functional importance as fish nurseries and breeding grounds. Like much of the Clyde and Scottish inshore waters, Arran’s marine ecosystems are being severely degraded by destructive fishing practices such as scallop dredging and bottom trawling.