February 2014 Newsletter

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COAST demand immediate designation of South Arran MPA
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Overwhelming response in favour of Scottish Marine Protected Areas

With the vast majority of responses to the MPA consultation in favour of marine protected areas it is now time for the Scottish Government to act. Consultations are not referenda or elections but they are part of the democratic process and the weight of public opinion behind MPAs must be acknowledged. Very few respondents are against MPAs but those that are (mostly members of the self-styled MPA coalition) seem to think they have a veto on marine policy (This is known as regulatory capture). Now is the hour for Richard Lochhead (Cab. Sec.) to show real leadership. It is not good enough to sit on the fence until the independence referendum is over. Scotland's people deserve healthy and productive seas which genuinely support all coastal communities. COAST's legal advice is that the Cab-Sec needs to balance the interests of all marine stakeholders within his remit of encouraging sustainable development. These include tourism, recreational sea angling & both the mobile & static fishing sectors. For too long his department has been biased in favour of bottom dredging & trawling. The scientific consensus is that these methods are destructive & unsustainable. The current process is just irrational.  There seems to be no proper basis for all the architecture of government supporting the use of the public fishery in this way. Surely the Cab-Sec will see sense and implement lasting reforms, without going through the expense and trauma of a thorough analysis of the mismanagement of the Clyde fishery in the courts. (Nb. COAST is neutral on independence and is non party political, however, we will hold our Government and politicians to account for their management of Scotland's seas.)
  • There will be a Holyrood debate on the Clyde on 11 March, 5pm. Book tickets.
10 years ago...
...there was a Clyde Fisheries Workshop (see above). Nothing changed as a result but now Marine Scotland have announced a new Clyde 2020 workshop to be held this spring. That's great but we need to move on from talking and start acting if we really want improved fish stocks.
Meanwhile
Media outlets including Fish-up-date report foreign fishermen allegedly being exploited as ‘slave labour’ on scallop dredgers. Visa requirements can be circumvented by workers living on vessels but crew, often from the Philippines or Indonesia, have complained about very low wages and virtual imprisonment.
Read newspaper report
Devonshire Cup Coral Species of the month.
Read More

Photo:Howard Wood

Anglers are our allies
COAST agrees with George Monbiot's recent article in the Guardian.

South Arran MPA responses
Our analysis of over 1300 responses sent via COAST reveals over 99% support the Arran MPA and want bottom trawling and scallop dredging excluded entirely from the area. For our full summary of respondents' comments Click Here
 
COAST becomes marine science hub Since 2010 COAST has hosted or assisted 3 PhD reseachers and 10 MSc research projects while working closely with Glasgow, York and Heriot Watt Universities as well as engaging 6 marine science short-term volunteers. This year we expect to attract a further 4 MSc students mapping habitats and monitoring change in the NTZ. We are well on the way to becoming a hub for marine science and enlightened marine policy  (photo below of last years researchers).
COAST office is behind the High School above Chrissie's Laundarette.
Drop in and visit us! 

Tel: 01770 600 656
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Our synthetic seas
Recent storms show just how much plastic is in the Clyde.  Arran residents (banner pic above) are beginning to clean up here but the following films illustrate this is a world-wide catastrophe we can't ignore.
Photo Story The death of albatrosses feeding on plastic (photo above: Chris Jordan).
Plastic Bag The troubled life of a plastic bag from supermarket to ocean.
Synthetic Sea How plastics have entered the marine food chain.
Garbage Island An ocean full of Plastic.

Thanks to Marinet for alerting us to these!
 
Letter from Sierra Leone
COAST's Andrew Binnie visits fishermen in West Africa fighting illegal fishing. Read all about it here.
 
Join COAST on a Mountain Festival Holy Isle Walk.
 
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