2012 Study shows more species inside NTZ
Research findings suggest a biodiversity boost within the Lamlash Bay No-Take Zone (NTZ). Results from last summer’s marine surveys of the NTZ have been published by the University of York in an interim science report. Overall, a greater number of species were observed within Lamlash Bay No-Take Zone compared to control sites, and may be evidence of the No-Take Zone promoting recovery.
“After two years of surveying Lamlash Bay using a wide variety of techniques and statistical analyses, the majority of our evidence appears to be pointing in the same direction," explains PhD researcher Leigh Howarth. "That ecological communities within Lamlash Bay are more diverse and more abundant within the NTZ than outside, and that scallop populations within the NTZ are made up of older, larger and a greater number of individuals." The surveys also found the No-Take Zone to encompass a higher abundance of cod and haddock. "In recent years, cod and haddock have been scarce in the Firth of Clyde as a result of severe overfishing yet our study suggests that their populations have persisted in Lamlash Bay, although most are in their juvenile form."
The recent Marine Scotland Act will lead to a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) being set up in the waters around Scotland and COAST has recently proposed an MPA for the South of Arran. This would prevent damaging scallop dredging and bottom trawling but encourage creeling and sea angling. The study of the Lamlash Bay NTZ starts to promote understanding of - and build the case for - area-based management. Marine researcher Leigh Howarth explains: "as the Lamlash Bay No-Take Zone will form part of this MPA and is the only fully protected marine reserve in Scotland (and one of only three in the UK) it has provided vital information on the range of effects that can be expected from MPAs in Arran and Scottish waters.”
Download Leigh Howarth's report here: Exploring the fishery and ecological effects of Lamlash Bay No-Take Zone, L.M. Howarth (April 2012)
Leigh and his research team will be back again on Arran this summer to finish their third year of monitoring Lamlash Bay.