Community-led marine conservation

Author: COAST (Community of Arran Seabed Trust)

Location: Isle of Arran, Firth of Clyde, Scotland

COAST was responsible for the establishment of Scotland’s first No Take Zone in Lamlash Bay in 2008 and, most recently, proposed and helped to establish the South Arran MPA (Marine Protected Area).

Starting with two Arran divers, who in 1995 saw the need to reverse the damage in Arran’s marine habitats, COAST (The Community of Arran Seabed Trust) is now a cross sectoral community effort that has strong links with universities, schools, residents and visitors; and has established a team of ambassadors including fishers, divers, politicians, and Arran residents.

They are now campaigning to ensure successful implementation and management of the newly designated MPA, so that protection does not stay only on paper. They want to see the exclusion of trawlers and dredgers from the MPA and sustainable marine management.

Howard Wood, Chair and Co-Founder, COAST (The Community of Arran Seabed Trust):

“The COAST initiative on the Isle of Arran is built around the concept that if the marine environment thrives, then everyone dependent on it will too. The Lamlash Bay No Take Zone is recovering well and this success is expected to have a positive effect on the surrounding waters, benefiting scallop divers and creelers that work within the newly created South Arran MPA. It also helps generate many tens of thousands of pounds for the local economy.”

“The need to restore marine habitats and properly manage these ecosystems for the benefit of society and the economy is not unique to The Clyde. What’s really exciting is that other groups across the country are waking up to the huge potential of our marine environment. The Blue New Deal is a welcome initiative to build on and strengthen this momentum.”