Welcome to COAST
We are a community organisation working for the protection and restoration of the marine environment around Arran and the Clyde.
We aim to:
• improve the local marine environment for the benefit of everyone
• help sustain the livelihood of those dependent on fishing and tourism
• increase the popularity of the area as a diving site and tourist destination
• educate future generations on the need for marine conservation.
COAST is recognised worldwide as one the UK’s leading community marine conservation organisations. We were responsible for the establishment of Scotland’s first No Take Zone in Lamlash Bay.
We are now campaigning for effective management of the designated South Arran Marine Protected Area (MPA).
Communities demonstrating support for MPAs
Prawn lobby attack on Scotland's MPAs
Demonstration at Holyrood in support of MPAs next week
Read the full article here
Marine Conservation Order finally laid before parliament
Season's greetings and New Year message from COAST
We are pleased to announce today that the Marine Conservation Order for the South Arran Marine Protected Area has finally been laid before the Scottish Parliament along with fisheries orders for a further 16 SACs/MPAs. We expect these to come into effect on 8th February 2016. These measures, while not perfect, are an important step forward for our inshore waters and the coastal communities which rely upon them. COAST congratulates Richard Lochhead and the Scottish Government for standing up to pressure from well-resourced lobby groups and for putting the real interests of Scottish coastal communities first. We urge the Government to quickly progress Conservation Orders for the three remaining inshore MPAs.
Before 2015 comes to an end we’d like to thank and recognise the effort, passion and drive of all our volunteers and supporters.
To help protect and revive the Clyde and the livelihoods it sustains, our volunteers have put in thousands of hours of hard work. They have been working on developing educational resources, delivering outreach events, carrying out underwater marine research and campaigning hard to raise community voices with government. The awards we have received over the past two years are a testament to this voluntary effort.
The year ahead will be an exciting one. We are looking forward to setting up a new community led marine interpretation centre for the MPA while rolling out of a variety of outreach activities - look out for our Marine Mobile! COAST will continue to campaign for sustainable fisheries management in the Clyde and the meaningful implementation of all Scottish MPAs.
With our best wishes for a healthy, happy and sustainable New Year.
The COAST team
Arran's coast under snow - photo: Zabdi Keen
December 2015 Newsletter
Prawn trawl lobby tries to undermine Scottish Government MPAs
Coastal communities bombarded with scare stories and spin
Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) are designed to protect marine species and habitats (many of which are also fish nursery grounds), while at the same time allowing nearly all of the marine activities which already occur in these areas to continue. They are not No Take Zones. The Arran MPA will still allow bottom trawling in 36% of the area and in 51% of the Upper Loch Fyne MPA for instance. MPAs will encourage well-managed creeling and trawling, scallop diving, wildlife tourism and eventually, if managed effectively, a return of sea angling - all activities which used to support a far greater diversity and number of jobs around the Clyde than exist now.
Howard Wood, COAST Chair and a Clyde diver with 40 years experience, puts it this way: 'The Clyde belongs to us all and must be managed in the public interest, as Marine Scotland is attempting to do. The South Arran MPA trawling restrictions on vulnerable habitats such as seagrass meadows, burrowed mud and maerl beds equal less than 5% of Clyde waters. Big compromises have been made by the Government and communities like COAST, yet incredibly the mobile fishing lobby continues to make alarmist and unsubstantiated claims that these modest MPAs will 'decimate' communities. Ironically, it was bottom trawling which our predecessors (mainly fishermen) fought hard to get banned in the 1890s - to preserve the viability of fishing communities! They were wise. Since bans on bottom trawling in the Clyde were lifted in the 1960s and 80s our white fish stocks have declined to the point of being commercially unviable and sea anglers now go to Norway instead of coming to the Clyde. Poor leadership and a lack of management has cost the Clyde hundreds of jobs and deprived Scotland of an affordable food source. MPAs can play an important part in redressing this situation and Marine Scotland needs our continued support as they finalise management for the MPA network'.
Nicola Sturgeon, who's Government must be congratulated on progressing a well-balanced MPA network for Scotland, said at the World Forum on Natural Capital held last month: 'Economic growth cannot be sustained if it comes at a continuing and unsustainable cost to our natural resources...We should not reduce natural capital for our own temporary benefit, at the expense of future generations'.
How disappointing then that the well-healed mobile prawn lobby is doing everything in its power to undermine the Scottish Government's proposals for effective MPA management and is prepared to mislead coastal communities with scaremongering to achieve its ends. Please contact your MSP to let them know Scotland's 30 designated MPAs need immediate and effective management.
Read the full newsletter here.