South Of Arran MPA finally comes into effect along with 13 other MPAs.
Following 5 years of campaigning, islanders celebrate the birth of the long awaited South Arran MPA.
Representatives from coastal communities, scallop divers, sea anglers and conservation organisations showed their passion and support for MPAs at Holyrood last month, coinciding with a Rural Affairs Committee debate on the future of MPAs. To the delight of thousands of MPA supporters on Arran and throughout Scotland, the committee voted against a motion to annul MPAs by Jamie McGrigor (cons) MSP by seven votes to two.
COAST‘s Andrew Binnie said: ‘The Scottish Government’s refusal to buckle to scaremongering from the mobile prawn lobby (also debunked in Scottish Environment LINK paper) means the South Arran MPA came into effect on 8th February 2016 along with legislation for a further 13 MPAs including the St Kilda World Heritage Site MPA. We are celebrating on Arran this week and looking forward to healthier and more productive seas around Arran and Scotland. This will benefit all marine stakeholders and future generations‘.
New Arran MPA Marine Discovery Centre scheduled
The South Arran MPA prohibits scallop dredging but still allows bottom trawling in outer areas of the MPA. Apart from in the existing small No Take Zone in Lamlash Bay, sea angling is permitted within the entire area as well as all other recreational activities.
As community and visitor surveys have shown a real demand for a Marine Discovery Centre on Arran, COAST is now fundraising to make this project come true.
Delay for the Small Isles MPA.
Mr Lochhead, the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs also announced that the Wester Ross and Loch Sunart to Sound of Jura Marine Conservation Orders went before parliament on 5th of February, meaning they will come into effect in late March.
Disappointingly, the Small Isles MPA will go back out to consultation and will now be delayed until at least the summer.
Dave Thompson SNP MSP for Skye and Lochalsh has written to Marine Scotland’s Marine Protection Area (MPA) Consultation strongly supporting the submission on the Small Isles MPA from the Mallaig and North West Fishermen’s Association.
Mr Thompson said, ‘I strongly support the modest changes to the Small Isles MPA that the MNWFA are requesting. These changes will mitigate the economic impact on the west’s fishermen of the MPA fishing restriction, but will not endanger any marine features.’
The Small Isles Community Council will in the meantime continue to support the proposals as they stand: ‘The Sound of Canna Fan Mussel colony is probably the most important wildlife asset in the Small Isles, at least on a par with the Manx Shearwater colony on Rum. It is a community asset and the feelings of the local community that support it should be respected. There is a national and an international responsibility to protect it and it will bring pride as well as economic benefits to the local area including the Small Isles by attracting a new strand of wildlife tourism.’