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Support for Fair Isle community's MPA Proposal
27 July 2014

Kerri Whiteside, Fauna & Flora International's new Marine Community Support Officer, and Morven Carruthers of Scottish Natural Heritage visited Fair Isle between 17th and 24th July for a series of meetings with members of the Fair Isle community.

The aim of their visit was to find out how they can help to move the MPA process forward for us, provide FIMETI with advice and support and convey the views of the community to decision makers and others. Fair Isle is very appreciative of their support and assistance.

The importance of Fair Isle having a Marine Protected Area from a socio-economic/tourism standpoint has been made very clear to both Kerri and Morven and is also stated very clearly in the Fair Isle community's MPA proposal. Having visited Fair Isle for themselves, Kerri and Morven are now both very aware of the attributes which draw visitors to the island and the close relationship which the community has with the sea. Some visitors staying at the Bird Observatory also attended one of our meetings and made this point directly, and asked how people like themselves can help to support Fair Isle's quest for an MPA. One visitor said he would write to his MSP. If enough people do this it might make a difference.

The announcement of 30 new Nature Conservation Marine Protected Areas (MPA's) in Scotland on Friday, 25th July is welcomed by Fair Isle, with the proviso that these should also be backed up by proper management measures to ensure their aims and objectives are achieved.

Fair Isle is still awaiting Marine Scotland's decision on Demonstration and Research MPA's. Let's hope Fair Isle joins the MPA family soon.

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