February 23, 2015
The first and only fully protected marine reserve in Scotland is continuing to provide benefits for fisheries and conservation, according to new research by the University of York. Backing from the local community has been crucial to the success of Lamlash Bay marine reserve after its creation off the Isle of Arran in 2008, following a decade-long campaign by the local Community of Arran Seabed Trust (COAST). The new study, published in Marine Biology, reports on monitoring surveys conducted inside and outside the marine reserve by scientists in the Environment Department at York from 2010 to 2013. Marine reserves, where fishing and other extractive activities are restricted, are being established across the globe, allowing natural ecosystems to recover and flourish. Over the course of this new study, the abundance of commercially important juvenile scallops was consistently higher within the reserve than outside. These scallops were strongly associated with seaweeds and other marine life thriving on the seabed within the protected area…..
…Crucial to the success of the Lamlash Bay marine reserve has been the involvement of the local community group COAST. They assisted greatly with the research and encouraged the community to keep a watchful eye on activities in the area. In other marine reserves illegal fishing has been a problem, but in this case any suspicious activity has been reported to the authorities and in several cases fishing boats have been encouraged to move on by COAST members….
…a visionary proposal by another non-governmental organisation, the Sustainable Inshore Fisheries Trust (SIFT), to revolutionise fisheries management in the entire area. Their plans, instigated by the collapse of fin fish populations and the vulnerable nature of shellfish fisheries in the Clyde, are also being released this week. The centrepiece of their approach is to zone different fishing activities into discrete areas and to create some highly protected replenishment zones.
Dr Stewart added: “Our research adds further evidence that such a system could well provide the path to more sustainable use of our seas.”
Leigh M. Howarth, Callum M. Roberts, Julie P. Hawkins, Daniel J. Steadman, Bryce D. Beukers-Stewart. Effects of ecosystem protection on scallop populations within a community-led temperate marine reserve. Marine Biology, 2015; DOI: 10.1007/s00227-015-2627-7