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The Coastal Communities Network Newsletter
September 2021

Read on to hear more about snorkeling artists in the Argyll Hope Spot, COASTs thoughts on the Green-SNP alliance and an update on Edinburgh Shoreline's Forthline Project!
Hope Spot
Anemones and soft corals in Loch Sween © Lottie Goodlet
Snorkelling artists in the Hope Spot

The Argyll Hope Spot is an area of the Argyll coastline that stretches from Ardnamurchan to Loch Sween. Its designation is a celebration and recognition of the world-class natural riches of this part of Scotland’s coast.


This summer the Argyll Hope Spot are collaborating with artists from the Society of Wildlife Artists. In July four artists undertook a week-long residency in the Hope Spot. During this time they snorkelled and sailed across the area, making observational sketches and studying the life that lives under the waves. They even made field sketches whilst under the water. By all accounts, this was as hard as it sounds. Using these sketches, each artist produced new pieces which they exhibited at a local community event and which will be included in the Society of Wildlife Artists annual exhibition at Mall Galleries, London.


A second group of artists undertook the same residency from 15th-22nd September. They travelled across the area to study, observe and sketch an array of species and habitats. 

You can follow Argyll Hope Spot and the artists’ adventures online on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Follow them under the waves to discover an extraordinary world....

More films from Auchtertyre Academy!
When at a meeting at Gartmore House Hotel, Stirling FK8 3RS UK, in 2016 the room I was given had a print of a song by Handel, framed, on the wall. Original or repro? No idea. I photographed, transcribed and arranged it, and now it can be heard again, albeit thanks to the computer. I hope it's still there, on the wall. I'll try to find out soon - October 2021 - at the third Gartmore gathering of the Coastal Communities Network, Scotland (CCN).


SNP-SGP JOINT POLICY STATEMENT (Aquaculture & Marine) - an appraisal:
7 September 2021 The Scottish Government’s Programme for Government* confirms the Government’s policies for marine conservation and recovery. Once again, for the reasons presented in this video, these aspirations will never be achieved while salmon farming in nets is allowed. “We will also protect our natural and marine environments for generations to come – reversing ecological decline, and ensuring nature based solutions are central to our climate obligations.”

Edinburgh Shoreline's Forthline Project:
Edinburgh Shoreline recently displayed their community created art squares, from their innovative Forthline Project, at the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh's Harvest Festival.  The project had a great reception, with 350 people coming to see the Forthline squares in just 4 hours, and enthusiastic visitors who lingered to read the stories behind the squares and talk about them.  The event also included very popular talks on Seagrass and Oysters – which managed to appeal to all ages from 2 to 72!
This environmentally based art project involves over 180 local people from all the way around the Forth.  Conceived during the dark winter lockdown, the idea was that people would select a 1km part of the coastline special to them and create a piece of art on a calico square. Through this they share each area's heritage, wildlife and their hopes and dreams. All in the run up to COP26. The idea is that these will weave together to form an interlinked 'storyline' of the Forth.

Follow Edinburgh Shoreline on Facebook for updates!

CCN's Coastal Communities Workshop

After quite a few setbacks due to the ongoing pandemic, CCN members are quietly hopeful of meeting face-to-face, for the first time in over 3 years, at the end of October.  We're extremely pleased to be able to bring everyone together again!  If you're interested to see what's on the agenda for the weekend, read the programme here
Read more about the previous events here.

Nature of Scotland Awards:
The Nature of Scotland Awards recognises excellence and innovation in nature conservation. All the previous winners have done exceptional work to support Scotland’s species and habitats, the cumulative efforts they have made for nature have been tremendous. To mark the 10th anniversary the judging panel have selected 10 outstanding former winning projects from across Scotland - it’s up to you which one will win the Nature Champions of the Decade trophy.  COAST have been shortlisted as 1 of 10 nominations this year.   Vote online

The joint NatureScot-FFI-CCN Community-led Monitoring Project has been shortlisted under the Coasts and Waters Award.  Book your free tickets for the online Awards Ceremony on 17 November, here, to see who wins!
Transform Trawling
Transform Bottom Trawling:

The Transform Bottom Trawling coalition and call to action has just been launched – Our Seas and Fauna & Flora International are amongst the members, with Blue Ventures leading.  The coalition wants to see bottom trawling urgently tackled by all coastal nations, with evidence of a globally reduced footprint by 2030.  See more here.

COAST: 'Green SNP alliance rewraps broken promises':

With a new alliance in power at Holyrood that includes the Greens, and COP26 just weeks away, COAST was hoping to see some transformational changes in inshore marine policy. After all, it would be technically very simple to exclude scallop dredgers and bottom trawlers from inshore waters (this is not like moving from diesel to battery power or from gas to heat pumps).

Everyone knows, including the Government, that this would lead to the recovery of sensitive seabed habitats that sequester carbon and create nursery grounds for the fish species we rely upon. Research already shows that new sustainable fishing and recreational jobs would be created, off-setting job losses resulting from ending these destructive practices.
So, what is stopping them? The mobile fishing sector does not seem to provide any support to the SNP or Greens and there would be massive public and environmental benefits gained from this simple action; investing in marine protection is of significant economic value to local economies and wider society.

Could it be that Marine Scotland is, in effect, ‘owned’ by vested fishing interests rather than working in the public interest? Instead of real change that might meaningfully contribute to our climate obligations, what we have are promises to deliver a limited number of more MPAs (many promised years ago) and conduct more research. Research is important but let’s focus this on monitoring marine recovery, not use it as an excuse for further delays.

What COAST and the wider public are asking for is common sense management that protects and restores a public resource, one that can contribute in excess of peat bogs to the capture of carbon and supports our wonderful but embattled marine life. We are living in a climate crisis and the youth of today are scared, knowing that failure to act could have major implications on their future. Now is the time for the Scottish Government to act and deliver on all the broken promises regifted to us in the SNP Green deal.
COAST call on the Scottish Government to bite the bullet and shake off the shackles of the short-term interests that are holding coastal communities back and calling the lives and livelihoods of our future generations into question. 

Read more in COASTs latest newsletter.

What benefits can MPAs bring to Argyll?


In May 2020 the MarPAMM-Argyll steering group carried out an exercise to identify the opportunities of MPAs, what benefits these opportunities bring and the actions needed to realise these benefits.

Working with local designer Art & Sea, they have developed an infographic to summarise the findings of the exercise while showcasing some of the region’s iconic landmarks and wildlife. They want the infographic to encourage further discussions with users of Argyll’s marine region to help define a shared vision for the MPAs in Argyll with clear objectives and recommendation.


Rural Communities Ideas into Action Fund (RCIA):

The Rural Communities Ideas into Action Fund (RCIA) is a £1.5 million investment from the Scottish Government to encourage and support innovative approaches to community-led local development in rural communities across Scotland. Two strands of funding are available — small grants for projects up to £3,000 and large grants for projects £3,001-£50,000. 

Projects funded will contribute positively to local people and local priorities, helping rural communities to thrive through community-led initiatives.  Applications are welcomed from not-for-profit groups for capital and revenue expenditure for projects to be delivered by the end of March 2022. 

Small Grants of up to £3,000 are available for grassroots rural groups or organisations to support community projects that fit with local needs and are locally led. The process for applying for this funding has been simplified to make it easy for unincorporated groups to apply and both capital and expenditure costs are eligible.  Applications must be submitted by midday Friday 8th October 2021.


MASTS Conference and Sea Lice Workshop:

The MASTS 11th Annual Science Meeting 2021 programme is now available - Working To Reverse The Tide On Climate And Global Change Register to join the event here,  5-7th October, online. 

On 7th Oct there is an all day online workshop on sea lice dispersal – which needs additional registration.  The aim of this workshop is to bring together national and international experts with interested parties to discuss scientific developments in various areas of Scottish aquaculture with a focus on spatial interactions, specifically sea lice dispersal modelling and sea lice population assessments in order to provide an opinion piece that identifies the gaps in the current knowledge for Scotland.


'Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society':

Arzucan (Arzu) Askin is the 2021 European Scholar of the Our World-Underwater Scholarship Society and an  interdisciplinary conservation scientist. The scholarship supports one person from Europe each year to gain diving related experience in order to support them becoming a marine leader in the future. Arzu is currently finishing her MSc dissertation on anthropogenic disturbance of migratory sharks in small island developing nations at the University of Oxford, but she would love to have the opportunity to come up to Scotland and dive with Coastal Communities Network communities and learn about your good work.  She is currently free between the 18th of September - 23rd of October. 
Arzu a PADI divemaster, and will have just completed her HSE First Aid at Work Qualification. She is very keen to help out with specific survey techniques. In the past she has done transect dives on coral reefs as well as quadrat surveys using CoralWatch and ReefCheck protocols. She also comes equipped with an amazing new set of underwater photography gear that she’d love to use for more scientific purposes. Other than that, she’s very passionate about community approaches to marine management, kelp and seaweed (both underwater and as a meal!) as well as sharks, whales and seals. 
The scholarship covers Arzu’s travel and expenses where needed, but we always appreciate any hosting support, be that a bed to sleep in or time on a boat where available too.  You can find out more about her here and the scholarship here.  Please get in touch with Arzu directly to discuss any opportunities you might have for her to come and help you with


Conserving Wild Salmon Project Launched:

A project to gauge the impact of environmental and climate change on Scotland’s iconic wild salmon population has begun. Numbers of wild Atlantic salmon returning to Scotland have declined over the last four decades by around 40%, impacting the conservation status of many rivers in the country.

The £550,000 fund, including £150,000 provided by Crown Estate Scotland, supports sampling of juvenile and adult salmon by local Fisheries Trusts and Boards to collect scales and other biological information from fish captured in rivers throughout the country.  The innovative scheme, launched during Climate Week, will use the data to help target interventions to conserve the globally recognised species and increase the numbers and size of wild salmon leaving rivers.  Read more.


WWF, the Marine Conservation Society and RSPB are urging UK governments to futureproof fisheries with a world-leading ‘climate-smart’ strategy to address the environmental impact of the fisheries sector and help accelerate progress towards climate and nature goals.

‘Shifting Gears: Achieving Climate Smart Fisheries’ outlines the urgent action required by all four UK Governments to ‘futureproof’ the fisheries sector in order to improve its sustainability and increase the opportunity for our seas to act as a vital carbon sink.
Blue Carbon

MPAs as part of the climate solution: The role of blue carbon

Tue, Oct 26, 2021 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM BST: Register here.

Description: Well-managed marine protected areas (MPAs) protect valuable blue carbon habitats and processes, and they must be included in global and national mitigation and adaptation responses to climate change. Coastal and marine ecosystems play a significant role in the global carbon cycle - sequestering and storing carbon over long timescales.

This presentation will review the latest science on oceanic and coastal carbon sequestration, raise awareness of the critical importance of the role these systems play, and highlight guiding principles for MPA managers to improve their understanding and management of blue carbon. To demonstrate application of these ideas, a case study from Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary in California will be presented, along with lessons learned and next steps.
Beach Clean

FCC Scottish Action Fund:

The FCC Scottish Action Fund provides grants of between £2,000 and £40,000 to not-for-profit organisations for projects eligible under Scottish Landfill Communities Fund (SLCF).
FCC 2021-4 Round opens on 15 September 2021 and closes at 5.00pm on 1 December 2021. Decisions will be made by the Board in March 2022. See more:

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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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