Arran’s COAST welcomes Scottish Government proposal to create 33 MPAs

The Community of Arran Seabed Trust (COAST) has welcomed Marine Scotland’s consultation on the Scottish Government’s proposed network of 33 Scottish Marine Protected Areas.

This includes 4 much-needed MPAs in the Clyde, with one of these being the proposed South Arran MPA. In the opinion of COAST, the proposed MPA network represents an exciting opportunity for Scotland and its coastal communities which should be embraced wholeheartedly.

The Arran MPA is expected to bring real environmental, social and economic benefits by protecting and helping to restore fragile marine habitats in these waters. Fish spawning and nursery grounds, as well as intricate maerlMaerl Maerl is a collective term for several species of red seaweed, with hard, chalky skeletons. It is rock hard and, unlike other seaweeds, it grows as unattached rounded nodules or short, branched shapes on the seabed. Like all seaweeds, maerl needs sunlight to grow, and it only occurs to a depth of about 20m. beds, will receive long-overdue protection from bottom trawling and dredging if the proposal is properly implemented.

Arran’s angler and creeler friendly MPA will also promote leisure activities such as kayaking, yachting and diving, encouraging people to experience a recovering marine ecosystem.

Howard Wood, the Community of Arran Seabed Trust’s Chair says “Communities with an interest in the health and productivity of their coastal waters are right behind the Government’s proposed MPA network. The government are to be applauded for showing leadership on MPAs but we must make sure they do not cave into pressure from those with a vested interest in the status quo as has happened in England and Wales.”

“The Clyde”, continues Howard Wood “once famous for supplying much of the west of Scotland with its plentiful herring and white fish is currently in a degraded state with no viable commercial fisheries apart from prawns and scallops remaining. Marine Scotland is quite clear that the main reason for this is historic overfishing.

“Current fishing practices, including bottom trawling which results in up to 9kg of by-catch for every 1 kilo of prawns harvested, and scallop dredging which lays important fish nursery grounds to waste, have compounded the problem. Our seas require both spatial and effort control if they are to recover from years of mismanagement and this will require leadership from the Scottish Government.”

Howard Wood concludes: “The proposed network of MPAs is an important step towards the sensible management of Scotland’s coastal and off shore waters. The network will not only benefit sensitive marine species and habitats but will, if managed effectively, benefit coastal communities and the wider public. The pursuit of short term financial gains which only benefit a few commercial enterprises should not be allowed to continually undermine this.”

The current proposals are being progressed under the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 and backed up by the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive. Under this Scotland must have a credible and working MPA network in place by the end of 2016. For full details of the Marine Scotland public consultation and list of proposed sites, see

Source: COAST August 2013 Newsletter,

Please do share this

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Delicious
  • StumbleUpon
  • Add to favorites
  • Email
  • RSS