New blood for S.I.F.

Meet our new Development officer and new board member

S.I.F. directors are delighted to announce the appointment of Kirsty MacColl as the organisation’s new development officer.

Kirsty is a crofter in Acharacle in West Lochaber and has close family links with Uist. She knows all about the challenges of farming in a remote area and has a strong interest in community empowerment, having worked for the Community Retail Network, Seeing is Believing and Plunkett Scotland. She is looking forward to find out more about the challenges of island life and has started to work on a new survey to identify how we can all work together to ensure the islanders’ voice is heard loud and clear!

Another outcome of the S.I.F. recruitment drive has been the appointment of a new director on the board, Ann MacDonald from the Tiree Community Trust.






Blue New Deal workshop

The Blue New Deal

The Blue New Deal is a UK-wide initiative, led by the New Economics Foundation and working in collaboration with a range of stakeholders, to support good jobs, increased economic sustainability and resilience for coastal communities through a healthier coastal and marine environment.

Free New Blue Deal workshop: 

Tuesday 26 July 2016 – 12:00 to 17:00                                                                                  University of Aberdeen

This one-day workshop is an opportunity to discuss Scottish coastal communities, coastal economy and marine environment.

It wants to bring together:

  • Private, public, third-sector stakeholders representing coastal and marine issues in Scotland (incl. fisheries, aquaculture, energy, tourism, coastal management)
  • Stakeholders representing the interests of Scottish coastal communities (including local councils, coastal partnerships, community groups, business networks)

You will talk about:

  • What needs to happen to deliver a vision of good jobs and increased economic sustainability for coastal communities through a healthier marine environment
  • Discuss how the Blue New Deal initiative can help strengthen existing efforts towards these goal

The output will feed into a UK-wide action plan, to be launched in autumn 2016.

Visit the Blue New Deal website to find out more.

Register your interest by June 6 by clicking here.

If you have any questions, please contact Fernanda Balata:


Community Marine Workshop: buying into Marine Scotland’s Vision and strategy

Community Marine Workshop: buying into Marine Scotland’s Vision and Strategy

Organised by Flora and Fauna International, the recent Community Marine Workshop held on 7 and 8 May 2016  was very informative about all issues surrounding  MPAs and community involvement.

The Marine Scotland strategy  about MPAs was presented in detail:

Marine Scotland Vision: 

Clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse marine and coastal environment that meets the long term needs of people and nature.

Marine Scotland Strategy 

  • Site protection:
  • Species protection
  • Wider measures

The Scottish MPA network

  • 30 nature conservation MPAs protecting habitats and species such as maerl beds, coral gardens, and common skate.
  • 47 Special Areas of Conservation (SACs) to protected species and habitats such as bottle nose dolphin, coral reefs and seals.
  • 45 Special Protection Areas (SPAs) for colonies of seabirds such as puffins and kittiwakes.
  • 61 Sites of Specific Scientific Interest (SSSI) for the further protection of species from seabirds and seals to habitats from sea caves and rocky shores.
  • 194 seal haul-out sites, where seals are protected from harassment.
  • Five seal conservation areas to protect vulnerable local populations of common seals. These areas cover Moray Firth, Shetland, Orkney, Firth of Tay and the Western Isles.

20% of Scottish seas are now protected by MPAs.

See more in this presentation by Sebastian Howell from Marine Scotland: Sebastian Howell_MPAs

The event also featured inspiring community presentations about Fair Isle, South Skye and Little Loch Broom, as well as COAST, who charted the milestones of their journey to successfully establish an MPA for Arran.

Fair Isle Demonstration and Research MPA


The community on Fair Isle has been actively campaigning for a Demonstration and Research MPA to be set up on the island which has witnessed a worrying decline in its sea-bird population during the last decades. The D&R MPA seeks to look into the causes of this decline, address it and research the socio-economic benefits of marine conservation for local communities.

Inge Thomson, the singer and performer from Fair Isle and her father Stewart showed the  film made on Fair Isle about the need for a D&R MPA and made an impassioned plea for people to support  their proposal.

To have your say, click on this link to the Scottish Government consultation which ends on 26 May.