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The Coastal Communities Network Newsletter
November 2021

This month: CCN welcomes its 19th member, FFI are recruting for a new role dedicated to CCN, we are delighted to have succesfully held the third in-person Gartmore event in October and CCN have lots of achievements to report!

This will be the last full newsletter of 2021 - we wish everyone a wonderful festive time and hope you get a well-deserved break.

Loch Creran © Friends of Loch Creran
Welcome to Friends of Loch Creran!

We are pleased to warmly welcome Friends of Loch Creran as CCN’s 19th member!  Friends of Loch Creran are based around Loch Creran, Argyll, an MPA designated for nationally important flame shell beds, as well as being an SAC for serpulid and horse mussel reefs - Loch Creran is the only known site in the UK to contain living serpulid reefs and there are no known occurrences of similarly abundant reefs in Europe.  

Friends of Loch Creran are an un-constituted group, who seek to fully protect this critically important ecosystem, and have been working alongside many CCN members to urge regulators to actively look into the recorded declines in the Loch’s reefs.  FoLC are campaigning about the growing industrialisation of Loch Creran, in particular, and other areas of the West Coast of Scotland. They are hoping to encourage more strict legislation of the aquaculture industry and to join forces with CCN to push for greater environmental protection for Scotland’s threatened coastline.  Welcome!

We are recruiting!  FFI are offering a unique opportunity to support the effective coordination and future development of the Coastal Communities Network, Scotland, on a 2-year fixed term basis.  The Coastal Communities Network Coordinator will work alongside FFI’s team in Scotland to ensure dedicated support to the Coastal Communities Network and its constituent members, and undertake delivery of specific actions identified by the CCN Advisory Group.  Please share with your networks!  Closing date 24th December 2021.

SCA community learning exchanges
Scottish Community Alliance (SCA) seeks to build levels of mutual support across the sector – both by encouraging communities to support one another and by supporting our national networks and intermediaries to collaborate and to share resources to best effect. The Community Learning Exchange which is funded by the Scottish Government is one of the ways in which they seek to do this.
The Community Learning Exchange is a fantastic opportunity for communities who are planning new ventures or thinking about future possibilities, to learn from the experience of other communities. There is nothing so powerful as learning from your peers and the Learning Exchange offers an opportunity to do just that.
SCA are now offering a blended form of the Community Learning Exchange which can include either virtual or face to face visits.The Exchange will fund up to 100% of the costs of a visit by members of one community to another community project up to a limit of £750 to include travel, accommodation and subsistence.

If you are interested, get in touch with Rebecca.

Marine Restoration Research Internship

Kerri and I are delighted to be joined in the Edinburgh office by Alan Munro, who will be working with us until February as the Scotland Marine Restoration Intern.  Alan will be carrying out a valuable piece of work looking into the marine restoration landscape in Scotland and the potential for a shared vision, with communities at the heart.  Alan will be getting in touch with many of you in the coming weeks to chat about your work, and I hope to be able to introduce Alan to as many of you as possible at suitable opportunities before February.  Welcome Alan!

Gartmore 3, October 2021

Finally, we successfully held the third Gartmore gathering on the weekend of 29th to 31st October!  We hosted around 65 guests at the maximum point, and feedback has been very positive.  It was such a pleasure for us to be with many of you again, and the discussions over the weekend were really valuable for CCN moving forward.  I’ll be sending out a report, copies of presentations and some pictures as soon as I’ve prepared them!  For now, I’ll leave you with the traditional group photo...

CCN-NatureScot meeting on Restoration

In response to CCN’s letter to NatureScot’s CEO earlier this year, members met with the Marine Ecosystems Team virtually on 10th November.  These are the topics that we covered, and the draft agenda for the follow up meeting on 27th January is here. CCN have now been offered a meeting with NatureScot’s CEO, Francesca Osowska, which is currently being arranged for mid-January.

Community marine monitoring updates

The NatureScot equipment fund is open again and will be accepting applications on a rolling basis until funds are exhausted. More information about the equipment fund and how to apply can be found on the equipment fund website. Please share this widely amongst your communities and networks!
There has been interest from some community groups about blue mussels in Scotland and observed declines in blue mussel beds. In response to this interest, Maddy has written a short topic sheet on blue mussel beds in Scotland and opportunities for communities and local groups. NS are also running an online training session where you will be able to learn more about blue mussel ecology, potential reasons for their decline and how you can get involved. Dr Hannah Grist will be running this session on 13th December @ 5pm. The session will be recorded.  Join the Zoom meeting here.
Join Maddy on Thursday 2nd December for a Christmas themed virtual meet-up from 4:30-5:30pm! Bring along a hot drink, mince pie, or whatever festive (or non-festive) treat you fancy and meet some of the other groups engaged in the project. It’ll be a great opportunity to reconnect with some familiar faces and meet some of the newer groups. Do share this invite with your group volunteers and members who aren’t on the project mailing list. Christmas hats and Christmas jumpers are optional but encouraged! Click here to join the meet-up!

CCN virtual session: Environmental Standards Scotland (ESS)
The next CCN Virtual Session will be on Thursday 9th December, 12:30, and we will be joined by Environmental Standards Scotland (ESS). Join us to find out more about ESS, their remit, powers and processes, and for the opportunity to raise any questions directly to ESS staff.  This session will be specifically relevant to the community sector.  This session will be recorded.  Please register here if you plan to attend – this will be a Teams webinar.

CCN Meeting with Minister and Cabinet Secretary
Last week, 5 CCN reps met with Mairi McAllan (Minister for Environment and Land Reform) and Mairi Gougeon (Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Islands) virtually.  While only having a short time, those attending were pleased with the tone of the meeting and reported that the Minister and Cabinet Secretary listened actively to their points, and seemed amenable to further meetings with CCN – which is an excellent step towards building a working relationship.  There wasn’t time for detailed discussions, but the general themes covered were: addressing the biodiversity crisis, lack of recognition of the community voice, poor enforcement of existing legislation, salmon farming & social licence and issues around RIFGs. 

CCN have written a letter of thanks to the Minister and Cab Sec, pushing for another meeting, and offering to host them locally at CCN sites.

Griggs Review Meeting
Following CCN’s meeting with the Minister and Cabinet Secretary, we have been offered a virtual meeting with Professor Griggs, to further explore the points made within CCN’s response to the call for views on the Griggs Aquaculture Regulatory Review.  A small group of CCN members will be meeting Prof Griggs on 14th December and we will share any outputs after the meeting.

ESS representation from CCN: Acoustic Deterrent Devices (ADDs)
Last week, CCN submitted a representation to the new Environmental Standards Scotland, stating that Marine Scotland are not fulfilling their required duties relating to the use of ADDs in Scottish waters.  CCN’s main objection is that Marine Scotland is operating an insufficient and therefore unlawful policy on enforcing the requirement for EPS licences in relation to ADDs.
  • Marine Scotland has demonstrated by its failure to monitor for ADD use or to pursue enforcement activity that it is content to sit back and allow the fish farmers themselves to decide whether or not to apply for EPS licences. 
  • Marine Scotland makes little or no attempt to confirm whether ADDs are being used in circumstances that breach the 1994 Regulations.
  • CCN is of the view that the Scottish Government cannot merely ask the industry to apply for an EPS licence if it thinks it needs one – that is not fulfilling the proactive duty to ensure compliance with the 1994 Regulations. 
CCN therefore requests that ESS:
  • investigates whether Marine Scotland is failing (or has failed) to comply with environmental law, more particularly its proactive duties under the law on the protection of EPS,
  • investigates the effectiveness of the law on EPS and how it is (or is not being) implemented and applied by Marine Scotland in respect of ADDs,
  • takes such steps as the ESS considers appropriate to secure Marine Scotland’s (and hence the salmon farming industry's) compliance with environmental law on the protection of EPS in respect of ADDs.
Thank you very much to David & Jean Ainsley and Guy Linley-Adams for your hard work and efforts on this.  I’ll share any further information that comes in.
Seagrass © COAST

ReSOW UK project
This project will facilitate informed management and restoration of seagrass for sustainable social, environmental and economic net gains for the UK.  The ReSOW UK project brings together teams from the National Oceanography Centre and the Universities of Cardiff, Swansea and Stirling.  Project partners include the Marine Management Organisation, Natural Resources Wales, the Environment Agency, the Global Oceans Accounts Partnership, the Centre for Climate, the Environment and Chronology, Natural England and the Scottish Coastal Communities Network

There will be a launch meeting in late January, where we will find out more about what the project entails.

Buteiful Coasts Clyde request 
A request from Buteiful Coasts:

“I contacted you several times in the past year regarding the DawnFresh proposed sites in the Clyde, to invite you to the online meeting that was held in May 2021 where the secretary of the Loch Lomond Angling Improvement Association, the secretary of Clyde Fishermans Association and the spokeperson for the Scottish Creel Fishermans Federation were the speakers (you can watch this on the Buteiful Coasts website if you weren't able to attend). 

I have here pulled out a few key addresses as I am trying to make contact with groups that are forming to oppose the DawnFresh proposals.  I think it is imperative that we begin to co-ordinate and work together (perhaps some of you are already but we would love to be included).  Please, if you yourself or anyone you know is involved in opposing the DawnFresh proposals, please share this email with them, email me or call me on 078 33 33 7254. Thanks very much for taking the time to read this. Regards, Theresa Nelson.”

Millstone Point appeal dismissed
The appeals process requested by the Scottish Salmon Company (SSC), against the unanimous rejection for a mega-farm at Millstone Point, has concluded and the reporter has UPHELD the Planning Committees decision!

This is fantastic news at what is hoped is the end of a long road of campaigning, led by dedicated locals on the island. The Friends of Millstone Point have worked tirelessly over the last couple of years to ensure the voices of the island community were heard. We thank them for their dedication to the cause and are delighted to have supported them in their campaign.

It is worth noting that the appeal decision was based on landscape impacts alone. A Friends of Millstone Point representative said: "The evidence of cumulative sea lice impacts on our legally protected wild salmon, and the cumulative impact on our seabed habitats, biodiversity and Blue Carbon sinks, continue to be ignored."

This said, it is still a time for celebration and the reporter did state in the report that she did "not consider this single proposed fish farm is of a scale or nature that could be considered nationally important" and therefore the planning decision could not be overturned on that basis.

A heartfelt thanks to everyone who supported this campaign to protect Arran's seas. Read the full report here:

Joint Fisheries Statement Development
We have had an update on the development of the Joint Fisheries Statement (JFS), as members of the related Community of Interest (CoI). The feedback received has been valuable in informing the content and direction of the JFS. They have reviewed all of the points raised and have summarised them into the following themes:
  • Development of the JFS should take a holistic interpretation of sustainability.
  • An ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management - the JFS should adopt an ecosystem-based approach to fisheries management which acknowledges the importance of marine systems. Feedback also suggested a commitment to reduce bycatch and minimise discards.
  • Traceability in supply chains - traceability and labelling is important in supply chains and should be included in the JFS. Fishing industry stakeholders noted that traceability is one of the biggest questions they receive from their customers; commitment to traceability in the JFS could help to convince others in the supply chain of its importance.
  • Evidence-based fisheries management, including monitoring - a coordinated approach across the fisheries policy authorities with regard to scientific data and advice is important. In addition to this, regular stock assessments, monitoring and following the best available scientific evidence was highlighted to be addressed in the JFS.
  • Climate change - climate change should be acknowledged as an impact of fisheries activities, and the JFS should consider climate change in relation to fishing and aquaculture including its impact on carbon sink habitats and its contributions to net zero
  • Balancing socio-economic factors and concerns - fish are a public resource and should be managed sustainably in a way that minimises the impact on our oceans and climate, whilst bringing about social and economic benefits to dependent coastal communities and the public. Feedback also focused on the need for conservation measures in relation to fisheries to be considered within the context of restoring, not only commercial stocks but also biodiversity and natural carbon stores and sequestration.
  • Seafood & Processing - important that seafood processing and supply chains be considered in the JFS and how they affect the UK fishing markets. Stakeholders also noted whilst the JFS should support the UK fishing market, encourage consumption of UK produced seafood and marketing of UK fish, the JFS should also mention the importance of international trade.
There will be opportunity to review the full draft of the JFS during consultation early in 2022.

West of Scotland Herring Hunt (WOSHH)
Scotland’s herring fishery was once the largest commercial fishery globally, generating income, identity, and societal change for rural communities. Following stock collapse in the 1970s, shoals of inshore-spawning herring were spotted again on the Scottish west coast between 2018 and 2021, sparking hopes for growing herring populations. Reproducing Atlantic herring relies on specific benthic spawning grounds; however, knowledge of location and status of such essential habitat is scarce on the west coast of Scotland.
The three-year West of Scotland Herring Hunt (WOSHH) project (11/21- 10/24) generates evidence required for the identification, conservation, and restoration of herring spawning habitat by bridging valuable historic ecological knowledge, newly generated (contemporary) ecological data and modelling. WOSHH will conduct habitat/species surveys together with Scottish west coast communities, organizations, industry and individuals, from the Clyde to Cape Wrath, and involve the wider public through participation in ‘herring hunts’ for spotting spawning shoals, eggs and juveniles using citizen science tools. WOSHH will establish connections and dialogue between key stakeholders, promote co-management strategies of inshore waters and champion the integration of essential spawning grounds into herring management. Healthy spawning habitat could help rebuild inshore herring populations, with potentially positive social and economic impacts, as well as improving biodiversity and ecosystem functioning.
WOSHH, led by Edinburgh Napier University and funded by the William Grant Foundation, will collaborate with a wide range of partners to achieve the project’s goals.

If you'd like to collaborate, contact:
Prof Karen Diele []
Dr Michelle Frost []
Funding Opportunity - Platinum Jubilee Fund
To mark this occasion, The National Lottery Community Fund will fund 70 projects across the UK.  The Platinum Jubilee Fund will award grants of £30k-£50k to 70 exemplar projects across the UK that focus on three areas: Intergenerational and Young People; Community Renewal and Our Shared Natural World

“We know that taking care of our shared natural world is important to communities up and down the country. We want to support people to come together and deepen their care and action ​locally for the natural world.”

Find out more about the funding criteria here. 
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CCN use googlegroups to power the email discussions amongst the sub-groups (see CCN initiatives).  Did you know: you can change the frequency of these emails, or unsubscribe, by using the link at the bottom of each email (you may need to login to googlegroups using the same email address).  To unsubscribe from the CCN newsletter, use the link at the bottom of this email. 
The CCN Community Support Fund

The Community Support Fund is a dedicated small grant fund operated by Fauna & Flora International to support member groups of the Coastal Communities Network.  Grants can be sought by Network members for discrete projects, to build the capacity or governance of a group, or to support learning and development.

Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis and there is no deadline - feel free to get in touch to discuss any ideas!
Find out more
CCN Facebook Group

Did you know that the Coastal Communities Network has a Facebook Group for Members?  If you are a Member, Supporter or Friend of the Network, then join the group!
Join here
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