The Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network

Fish for the Future

The Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network header image 3

Arran and COAST

WHEN a group of people on Arran decided in the mid-1990s to campaign for a marine reserve in Lamlash Bay, they found "people looked at us as if we were mad".

But in the intervening years, increasing numbers of people have come round to their point of view and the Community of Arran Seabed Trust - or COAST - now has a membership of more than 1,700 compared to the island’s population of fewer than 5,000.

They are currently in negotiations with government officials and fishermen, but are hopeful of finally succeeding in their aim of creating a marine protected area in the bay. [ But it’s taken 13+years thanks to Government inaction and the irresponsible actions of a limited number of commercial fishermen from outwith the island - SSACN ]

Lamlash Bay was home to a sea angling festival where catches as large as 5,000 fish, weighing up to a total of 16,000lb, had been recorded, but in 1994 - the last year this was held - the catch had slumped to 200lbs.

Partly because of this, a group of divers and other interested people decided to campaign to get the area closed to commercial fishing in the hope its sealife would be able to regenerate. "We needed to do something. It needs to start somewhere and we thought it could start with us.

Any official no-take zone requires the agreement of the Scottish Government; Mr Finnie pushed for a voluntary scheme with no success, has the new Minister, Mr Lochhead  got what it takes ?

The campaigners at COAST  hope Lamlash Bay will provide a good example of the kind of transformation in environmental well-being that could be achieved on a wider scale by a network of marine protected areas round Scotland’s coasts.

[ If, and only if, the destruction of the marine environment is stopped and the focus is shifted from making a quick profit to ensuring sustainability - SSACN ]

Original article here

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