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The Coastal Communities Network Newsletter
October 2021

Read on for a special feature on CCN member Friends of Loch Hourn, an interview with COAST's Jenny Crockett, and a shout out for marine rewilding projects.

It's all go at the moment, with CCN's binannual in-person event ("Gartmore 3") taking place over the weekend of 29th October, and COP26 beginning in Glasgow on 1st November. 

Wishing a safe journey to those attending either of these events, and all power to your actions.  CCN awaits the outcomes of COP26 with hope...

Loch Hourn © Rick Rohde
Feature on: Friends of Loch Hourn

Friends of Loch Hourn is a non-hierarchical, unincorporated community group in one of the most remote areas on the west coast. The loch itself is a dramatic, deep fiord-like sea loch, surrounded by several Munro peaks; it is in the heart of what used to be called the ‘rough bounds’, famous for its wilderness, stark beauty and sparse population. The group came together in response to the planned expansion of a large open-pen salmon farm. Awareness of the ecological impact that this farm has had on the marine environment over the last 30 years has finally dawned on the local community who have witnessed the slow decline in marine life and biodiversity in the loch.
The group was established only a year ago and now has over 100 members made up of residents, regular visitors, landowners, fishermen and others that have a direct interest in the long-term future of the loch. Main aims and objectives involve the conservation and protection of the marine environment; to promote and encourage the implementation of sustainable planning policies and to disseminate information amongst members and the wider public regarding development plans and activities pertaining to Loch Hourn that could affect the marine environment.
This is as close to an island community as it gets on the mainland. The only vehicle access into Loch Hourn is from the north along eighteen miles of single track road from the A87 at Shiel Bridge. Arnisdale and Corran are the two small crofting townships at the end of the road on the north shore, in the heart of Loch Hourn. The all-year-round population of these two villages is in the order of thirty-five people, not including ten remote settlements, scattered along the loch shore that are only accessible by boat.

Of paramount concern at present is the impending planning application by Mowi to expand their salmon farm from 2500 to 3100 tonnes maximum biomass, making it the third largest open-pen feedlot on the west coast. Loch Hourn is one of the slowest flushing lochs where the concentration of sea lice from the existing salmon farm over several decades is responsible for the decline of wild salmon and sea trout populations in nearby rivers. Since the 1970s salmonid populations of the five closest rivers have declined to the extent salmon have become extinct in one, and Marine Scotland gives the others a very low chance of meeting the requirement for sustainability. Wild salmonids are no longer part of the diet or culture of the local community. Coupled with the effects of organophosphate sea lice treatments and increased nutrients from fish faeces, the ecology of Loch Hourn has been transformed from its once abundant and thriving marine ecology to an impoverished facsimile of itself.
Friends of Loch Hourn are in the process of creating a website where they can share information about the changes that have occurred in marine environment e.g. the decline of native oysters and blue mussels as well as marine habitats such as maerl beds, sea grass and priority marine species. It will also highlight the positive activities of the group: the addition of several new PMF sites to the NatureScot database, a native oyster project and plans to create more sea grass habitats next year.
Chances of persuading the Highland Council to refuse this application seem remote but the group are determined to make their case.   Affiliation with CCN has been invaluable in bringing the group up to speed with the science, tactics and support from many members who have been through this process already. Friends of Loch Hourn look forward to the day when open-pen fish farms are a thing of the past and they can concentrate on restoring Loch Hourn to its former ecological health.


Firth of Clyde cod spawning closure for 2022/23
– extension to consultation

Complaints to Scottish Government about the limited circulation of the Clyde cod consultation have worked and Scot Gov have published the consultation online this week. 

Since 2001, a specific area in the Firth of Clyde has been closed to fishing each year between 14 February and 30 April, in order to protect spawning cod.  Exemptions have always been provided for Norway lobster trawlers, creels and scallop dredgers due to the low amounts of cod that they catch. This consultation seeks your views on continuing the closure in 2022 and 2023, including the exemptions previously provided.

“Our initial consultation focused on our existing list of stakeholders; we are now extending this consultation to enable members of the public to share their views. The consultation has been published online and will run until Thursday 4th November 2021. Your existing responses remain valid so there is no need to respond a second time.” 

Please do consider making a response before the closing date.  If you’re looking for a bit more info or some help, do drop COAST a line on it.

CCN's Coastal Communities Workshop
Everyone will probably know now that Gartmore 3 (the third CCN communities’ workshop, 2021) is taking place today – 29th – 31st October!  If you haven’t seen the programme already, you can find it here.  We’re very much looking forward to hosting many of you over the weekend and will share the report and outputs as soon as we can.

Nature of Scotland Awards
Free tickets for the online Nature of Scotland Awards are avilable here, for the event on 17th November.  COAST are up for the Nature Champions of the Decade, a special category decided by a public vote, and the NatureScot, FFI and CCN Community-led Monitoring Project is shortlisted under the Coasts and Waters category.

Book your free tickets for the online Awards Ceremony by Sunday 7th November to see who wins!
Fish Farm

CCN response to the Griggs Review Call for Views

CCN have submitted a response to the call for views related to the Griggs Review into Aquaculture Regulation.  Read it hereThis is the response that we received.  We subsequently sent another meeting request, which was declined.
Jenny with Lucy Kay, MPA project officer © COAST

Listen to local voices – A message from Scotland’s coastal communities

Fauna & Flora International (FFI) works closely with coastal communities and local NGOs to support their efforts to ensure a better future for Scotland’s inshore waters. One of the most active of FFIs Scottish partners is COAST (the Community of Arran Seabed Trust), recognised as a global pioneer in community-led conservation after establishing the first and only community-managed no-take zone in UK waters.
With world leaders preparing to gather at COP26 in Glasgow – just 50 miles from Arran as the gannet flies – FFI asked Jenny Crockett, Outreach & Communications Manager at COAST, to give an insight into her community’s hopes, fears and expectations as this crucial climate conference unfolds on her doorstep. 

Read the interview
Seawilding Autumn newsletter

Seawilding’s Autumn newsletter is here, including updates on the native oyster project, seagrass restoration, coastal biodiversity surveying and ‘seawildlings’!

Training Burseries - WildTeam UK

WildTeam UK are able to offer 40 people working for UK based marine conservation organisations a free place on one of their training workshops, with the objective of helping them to increase their capacity and impact. The bursaries are worth £180 (the total cost of one workshop).

To be eligible, you must be working at the local level and live less than 5 miles from the coast.  WildTeam UK are only able to offer bursaries to 2 organisations per UK county. The bursaries will be allocated at their discretion on a first-come-first-served basis to organisations that fit the criteria. 

If you or someone in your team would like to apply, please complete this form. If you do not intend to apply for the bursary but know of another eligible organisation you think might be interested, please do send their details to WildTeam UK.
COAST Executive Director

COAST are seeking an Executive Director, closing date for applications is 15th November.  Please share the application pack.

The Rewilding Network – Marine Projects

The rewilding movement is growing across Britain, with interest at levels never seen before. In response to this, Rewilding Britain have set up the Rewilding Network – a national community of rewilders who are rewilding land and sea. Rewilding and natural processes need a joined-up approach and there’s no single road map to follow.

Rewilding Britain believe they can learn and achieve far more together, through peer-to-peer exchange and learning, which will help upscale rewilding in Britain. The network exists to help those who are rewilding to facilitate knowledge exchange, barriers and opportunities, connecting with others, and to provide a support network for projects and local networks.
The Rewilding Network has a growing number of projects on its network map. They’ve recently been working with Marine Conservation Society to develop marine rewilding principles and invite marine projects to join the network. This is an important step as decisions within terrestrial projects can have a huge impact on coastal and marine ecosystems, from pollution and sedimentation to wildlife corridors.

Rewilding Britain believe we must rewild 30% of land and sea across Britain to meet the ecological and climate crises. The growing rewilding movement offers hope and provides opportunities to share innovations and experiences around how to deliver on the ground.
You can find out more about the Rewilding Network, and join, here.

The Pebble Trust

 The Pebble Trust are pleased to announce an increase in the maximum grant to £10,000 for projects in 2021-22 that contribute to reducing the impact of the Nature and Climate Emergencies. The Trustees have become so alarmed at the lack of progress in tackling the emergencies, despite the increasing urgency of the situation, that they have decided to encourage more, and more ambitious, projects.

They welcome applications from people with ideas for more environmentally friendly, resilient and sustainable living. Over the past seven years the Trust have supported over 60 projects, from Shetland to Mallaig and Nairn to Fort William. See examples of projects funded.  The Trust is also interested in educational projects around climate change and sustainability, especially those that appeal to the young people whose future depends on the actions taken now.  Read more and apply.

HIEF Grant Deadline Extended

The Highlands & Islands Environment Foundation (HIEF) funds local nature regeneration projects to protect & restore the natural beauty & rich biodiversity of the Scottish highlands & islands.   HIEF's goal is to protect & restore the natural beauty, biodiversity & eco-systems of the Scottish highlands & islands for the benefit of all by working in partnership with local communities to implement sustainable & regenerative projects.

Applications for grants are accepted in four periods per year, every January, April, July and October. This quarter's deadline has been extended to Friday 5th November.  Apply online.

COP26: Bottom trawling and a zero-carbon future:
what needs to change?

Event by Transform Bottom Trawling, Blue Ventures & Our Seas.

Small-scale fishers and environmental groups have long criticised bottom trawling for its negative impact on coastal fisheries and ecosystems. But emerging research suggests that bottom trawling's impacts extend beyond seabed damage and overfishing and includes significant contributions to global greenhouse gas emissions. If current estimates are correct, then bottom trawling may be one of the most carbon-intensive methods of producing food. In this special COP26 panel discussion, a global panel of experts will explore bottom trawling's place in a zero-carbon future. 
Register for the in-person event or the virtual event.

Uplift Letter about Cambo Oil Field Development

Uplift are seeking signatories for a letter against Cambo oil field development proposed off the West of Shetland due to its impact on marine habitats as well as greenhouse gas emissions.  More info on the Cambo campaign can be found here.  Uplift would love to have lots of Scottish environmental groups signed up so please contact Tessa if you can. 

Uplift have drafted a letter summarising the analysis in the ELAW report that they commissioned which they hope to send to OPRED ASAP. OPRED is the body within BEIS that undertakes the environmental impact assessment for new offshore oil and gas developments, and while the public consultation is formally closed, they still think it’s worth getting this analysis in front of them.  I’m attaching the letter as well as ELAW’s report. You can also find Siccar Point Energy’s Environmental Statement here, in case helpful.

Uplift are keen to get a good number of oceans groups to sign onto this, so would be very grateful for your support.  They would want to finalise the sign-ups around the end of October. 
Community Guide to Planning Appeals

Planning Democracy have produced a guide for people who want to find out about how communities can get their voice heard in planning appeals in Scotland. Read the Community Guide to Planning Appeals.
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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!
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