COAST's Howard Wood wins Goldman Environmental Prize
20th April 2015: Howard Wood, chairman and co-founder of COAST has been awarded the highly prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize for his work with COAST promoting sustainable management of Arran's seas. It is the first time this international award, the largest prize for grassroots environmentalists worldwide, has come to Scotland and only the second time it has been made to somebody in the UK.
Howard Wood moved to Arran with his family when he was a teenager. A keen diver, he witnessed first hand the impact dredging had on fragile marine habitats. In 1995 he established COAST with his friend Don MacNeish to champion sustainable management of marine resources for the benefit of all. The organisation has now grown from being entirely staffed by volunteers, to having two dedicated employees.
Howard Wood and Don MacNeish, Co-Founders
Howard said: “I am delighted with the award. This is global recognition for everything the community of marine volunteers on Arran have been working on for so long.''
COAST has fought against the degradation of marine life in the area of sea surrounding Arran particularly from scallop dredging and bottom trawling.
In 2008 it successfully established a No Take Zone in Lamash Bay and in July last year following COAST’s proposal the Scottish Government designated a large area of the sea around the south of Arran as one of 30 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
However, COAST still needs to ensure adequate protection is given to the South Arran MPA and wants to establish better marine management for the whole Firth of Clyde.
COAST is now launching an Avaaz online petition urging Scottish policy makers to end dredging and bottom trawling in marine protected areas.
Howard said: “The Scottish Government has a duty to manage the marine environment as a public asset, for now and for the future and to give local communities a real say in management.
“COAST staff and volunteers believe that by restoring marine health in the Clyde we can improve our fisheries, boost tourism and create a sustainable future for marine life and our younger generations.”
“Convincing the Scottish Government of the need for Scotland’s first ever No Take Zone and following this with a designated Marine Protected Area has been a huge achievement. The NTZ's is already recovering and the MPA will help to restore marine species and important fish nursery habitats.”
The Scottish government is due to announce its proposals for the management of MPAs in Scotland this summer.
Howard hopes the award will help COAST achieve its aims in the waters around Arran as well as inspire other Scottish coastal communities to seek better management of their own inshore waters.
The Goldman Environmental Prize
The Goldman Environmental Prize honours and recognizes individuals struggling to win environmental victories against the odds and inspires ordinary people to take extraordinary actions to protect the world’s natural resources. The Goldman Environmental Prize was created in 1989 by civic leaders and philanthropists Richard N. Goldman and his wife, Rhoda H. Goldman.
The Goldman Environmental Prize winners are selected by an international jury from confidential nominations submitted by a worldwide network of environmental organizations and individuals.
Winners are selected from each of the six inhabited continental regions Africa, Asia, Europe, Islands and Island Nations, North America, and South and Central America. They then participate in a 10-day tour of San Francisco and Washington, D.C., for an awards ceremony and presentation, news conferences, media briefings, and meetings with political, public policy and environmental leaders. Learn more at www.goldmanprize.org.
COAST staff and volunteers (Feb. 2015)
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 the complete exclusion of trawlers and dredgers from the newly designated south Arran Marine Protected Area (MPA).
In anticipation of a properly protected South Arran Marine Protected Area (MPA) COAST is gearing up to realise the full potential of the area. We are working with local tourism businesses, creel fishermen, sea anglers, Visit Arran, Visit Scotland and recreational users to make sure the South Arran MPA is managed sustainably and becomes a go-to destination and economic driver for Arran and the Clyde. We believe the South Arran MPA can be a huge success story for the west of Scotland in the same way as the community supported Cabo Pulmo (Watch BBC Video ) marine reserve is in Mexico. There, local leadership has ensured the reserves success (Read academic paper ). Here in the Clyde we still need Richard Lochhead (the Cabinet Secretary responsible), Marine Scotland and Scottish Natural Heritage to continue giving the South Arran MPA their full support by ensuring bottom towed gear is kept out of the area.
Could it be time though for a return to more progressive management?