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Welcome to the latest edition of the CCN newsletter, where you'll find news and updates related to the Network.

As we enter 2023, CCN continues to grow in both numbers and strength. This month we welcomed Little Loch Broom Marine Life - a small volunteer-led group based in Wester Ross - as our 24th member. Set up in 2019, they've been out and about recording the amazing marine life under the waves of Little Loch Broom.

But with growth often comes challanges and part of my work in the first part of this year is to revisit the CCN vision & mission and - with support from Fauna & Flora - explore different aspects of network resilience to ensure we can continue to build community capacity for local marine conservation action in Scotland going forward.

Alan Munro
CCN Coordinator
CCN Forum updates
Last year, following a case brought forward by CCN,  Environmental Standards Scotland found that the use of Acoustic Deterrent Devices (or ADDs) by fish farms without European Protected Species Licences (EPS) is unlawful. Since then, two companies have applied for EPS licences for a total of seven farms and we were concerned that Marine Scotland would bow to industry pressure and grant these licences. CCN lodged objections to these licenses with Marine Scotland and asked Arianne Burgess MSP to lodge a series of Parliamentary Questions designed to expose the flaws in the application and the unsound assumptions in the model designed by Marine Scotland and used by the applicants to claim that ADDs would disturb “less than one cetacean”. Six of the applications have since been refused and we fully expect a similar outcome for the seventh.

Marine plastics

Our friends at Scottish Islands Federation (SIF) are hosting a Marine Litter Networking event on Tuesday 28th February at the West Highland Hotel, Mallaig. This event will bring together a wide range of stakeholders - beach clean groups, local councils, harbour authorities, recycling businesses, and researchers - to identify sustainable solutions to the problem of marine plastics and their disposal. There will be key speakers, discussions and a market place to share current initiatives on research, collection and recycling of marine plastics. This will be a hybrid event and you can sign up here.

At this month's Restoration Forum call we heard from the Knoydart Climate Action Group and their seagrass survey work and plans for restoration.  
CCN meets with Francesca Osowska
This month we met with the CEO of NatureScot, Francesca Osowska, where we discussed the new draft Scottish Biodiversity Strategy and opportunities it presents to build support for community-led conservation & restoration action.  It is CCN's view that local community groups needs to be considered key delivery partners in the new SBS - alongside environmental NGOs and local authorities. We also believe there is a role for NatureScot to play in leveraging support to support local leadership.

Francesca was very open to exploring how existing relationships with NatureScot had supported CCN members' conservation efforts and where this could be further improved. We will be responding to the next consultation on the draft due in spring/summer.
CCN briefing on Scottish Highly Protected Marine Areas
CCN has produced a briefing paper on the Scottish HPMAs where we set out our position on both the principle and process of designation of HPMAs. We are calling for a holistic approach where HPMAs are integrated into a wider spatial approach to management of Scottland' seas, which includes the existing MPA network and other fisheries management measures.
Read the briefing here
Wildlife of the Firth of Forth photography exhibition
The Charlestown, Limekilns Pattiesmuir (CLP) Nature Conservation Group are hosting a wildlife photogrpahy exhibition at the Limekilns Church Hall on Saturday 25th Feburary. All are welcome!
#OurSeas Coastal Testimonies project
OurSeas are searching for people who live and work in and around the sea and who can give testimonies about changes they have seen to inshore fisheries and habitats. We are looking for folk of different demographics and locations who are informally influential, embedded and well-respected within their communities. If you know anyone who fits the bill, please drop a message to Hayley at
Scottish Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs)
Through the Bute House Agreement, Scottish Ministers have committed to designate at least 10% of Scotland’s seas as Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs), by 2026. These sites will provide high levels of protection by placing strict limits on some human activities, such as fishing and aquaculture, while allowing non-damaging recreational activities to take place at carefully managed levels.

Their consultation is now open, seeking views and comments on a number of key documents. You can have your say below.
Respond here
CCN Community Support Fund
The Community Support Fund is a dedicated small grants fund operated by Fauna & Flora to support members of the Coastal Communities Network.  Grants can be sought by 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.
Restoration Forth 2022 wrap up
Lyle Boyle, Seagrass Officer at the Ecology Centre, summarises the first year of the Restoration Forth project and its next steps in 2023.
Read here
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