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Project participants, supporters and observers:
FIMETI would like to thank the following organisations for their participation, interest and support:
OTHER COMMUNITY-LED MARINE INITIATIVES AND SUPPORTERS FOR A FAIR ISLE MPA...
Here on Fair Isle we have identified that sustainable management of our marine area would have major positive impacts on the marine environment, tourism, local economy, education and research, with proven benefits also to the wider community and fishermen as shown by similar community-based Marine Protected Areas in New Zealand, Finland and many other parts of the world.
Initially, the Fair Isle Marine Environment and Tourism Initiative (FIMETI) was the only community-led initiative in the UK pressing in this way to protect its marine resource. However, other groups have now emerged, including the Community of Arran Seabed Trust (COAST) project in Scotland and the Lyme Bay Fisheries and Conservation Reserve in Devon, England. We are confident that the above benefits will also apply to these two new Reserves
FIMETI is very grateful for the mutual support and encouragement between ourselves, COAST, Lyme Bay, other community-led marine protection intiatives and environmental organisations.
From 2011 onwards, the Blue Marine Foundation has been very supportive - including helping to finance visits by FIMETI working group members to conferences and meetings related to the establishment and management of Marine Protected Areas.
These included a conference in Portland, Dorset during September 2013. The conference - entitled 'Managing Marine Protected Areas' - was hosted by Blue Marine Foundation and the Lyme Bay Fisheries and Conservation Reserve.
The aim of the conference was to demonstrate the power of locally-based conservation and fishery measures to effectively manage areas of sea, to share wisdom and to investigate the possibility of new projects, alliances and initiatives.
With 1,600 members, numbering a fifth of the island’s population, COAST is substantially driven by the local community and is pressing to have Lamlash Bay declared as a Marine Protected Area. In the past five years, the organisation has surveyed the local seabed and made 63 Seasearch Observation records in the area of Lamlash Bay where previously no such survey had been conducted, and divers have discovered sizeable beds of rare and fragile maerl – pink coral-like seaweed – at the entrance to the bay. The divers take underwater photographs which are then used in presentations to schools and visitors.
In terms of more far-reaching direct results, COAST’s action has meant that Scottish Water have now moved the proposed site of a sewage outfall from Lamlash Bay. COAST continue to have talks with fishermen, SNH and the Scottish Executive, and have considerable support in the Scottish Parliament, not least from local Arran man, Jack McConnell.
Across Scotland, in recent years, with EU resolutions on Integrated Coastal Zone Management, a proposal for a Scottish Coastal and Marine National Park (CMNP), the launching of the Scottish Sustainable Marine Environment Initiative with Shetland as a pilot study area, a proposed UK Marine Bill and calls for a comprehensive network of Marine Protected Areas at the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, new opportunities have emerged for further progress towards protecting the nation’s marine resource.
In January 2008 the Scottish Government announced that Lamlash Bay is set to become Scotland's first Community Marine Conservation Area. This will be the first time statutory protection has been given to a marine area as a result of proposals being developed at grassroots level. It follows work by the Lamlash Bay Working Group comprising representatives of the fishing industry and nature conservationists and chaired by an independent body, the Firth of Clyde Forum. First however there is a consultation period until 5 June 2008 during which individuals and groups can register their thoughts on the Marine Reserve.
Latest update from COAST (March 2014)
COAST was the driving force behind the creation of Scotland's first No Take Zone in Lamlash Bay. The NTZ was established in the autumn of 2008 to protect Maerl beds and to promote natural regeneration of all marine life. After nearly 5 years of designation, the NTZ is showing real signs of regeneration compared to nearby dredged and trawled non-designated areas. Scallop numbers and sizes are up and seabed communities within the zone are more complex and abundant. Lobster sizes are larger within the zone. The NTZ shows how sensible marine conservation and management measures can have an impact on the biodiversity and productivity of the coastal seas on which local communities depend. In December 2012 COAST's third party proposal for the South Arran Marine Protected Area (MPA) was put forward to the Scottish parliament as part of a proposed network of Scottish MPAs. The designation of the Arran MPA would allow for the protection of a wide range of sensitive and valuable marine ecosystems and species, generating biological, social and economic benefits to Arran and the wider Clyde. In November 2013, during the public consultation phase of this work COAST received over 1,300 responses in support of the South Arran MPA. The Scottish Government is expected to announce the designation of the first phase of the MPA network in 2014.
The frustration felt by COAST in its drive for a protected area in Lamlash Bay is shared as keenly by the community on Fair Isle where we have long recognized the need and campaigned for similar measures in our own waters.
OTHER SUPPORTERS OF FAIR ISLE INCLUDE:
For much of June there will be a boat offshore Fair Isle undertaking scientific studies in support of isle's quest for a marine protected area. The expedition is being run by The Clipperton Project, a group of scientists and artists dedicated to drawing attention to the marine environment and the need to protect it. The expedition members include marine biologist divers in disciplines ranging from plankton to benthic invertebrates. They will build on the database already established for the isle, incuding re-visiting some of the sites studied by the national Marine Conservation Review in 1987 and evaluating the vulnerability to trawling activity of Fair Isle's whitefish nursery areas. They hope to give a snapshot of the current health of Fair Isle's marine environment and help promote the proposal for a Demonstration and Research Marine Protected Area (MPA) for the isle. The boat has a floating laboratory "with a bounty of scientific equipment" and the group is offering to give workshops and generally interact with the isle, including the scholchildren, on the subject of the marine environment.
Text Copyright Fair Isle Marine Environment and Tourism Initiative. Photographs Copyright as indicated. All rights reserved.