Last month, 2015 Goldman Prize winner Howard Wood celebrated a victory when Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, announced that a Marine Conservation Order (MCO) has been put before Scottish parliament setting out conservation measures that include banning the highly destructive practice of scallop dredging within the South Arran Marine Protected Area and other west coast MPAs.
Wood was awarded the Prize in 2015 for leading a campaign that established the first community-developed Marine Protected Area in Scotland. Wood and his organization COAST have campaigned hard to end scallop dredging in Arran’s MPA. He congratulated the Minister on listening to coastal communities, marine scientists and economists on this issue.
While the MCO is being heralded as a success and a step in the right direction, Wood points out that it will still permit bottom trawling within significant areas of the MPA. COAST says it will continue to press for an end to the practice.
COAST’s Executive Director Andrew Binnie commented on the ban: “Mr Lochhead and senior staff at Marine Scotland are to be applauded for taking one of the first concrete steps towards achieving a healthy and productive Clyde by 2020.
The Clyde’s MPAs have a significant part to play in achieving this vision and the removal of dredgers from the Arran MPA is very positive.
While we have real issues with the continuation of bottom trawling in the outer areas of the MPA we will be working with Marine Scotland to resolve these during the one month consultation period.”
The Scottish Government has opened a public consultation on the conservation measures which will last until September. If agreed to, they will be fully implemented in spring 2016.
We’ll keep you updated as the ban progresses. Stay tuned!