Revive the Clyde campaign launched to restore Scottish seascape

“There’s nothing better than a fish and chip supper made with locally caught fish. Check out what locals thought of the ‘Firth of Clyde Special’,” teases the ‘Revive the Clyde’ campaign, launched yesterday by the Sustainable Inshore Fisheries Trust (SIFT) – one of Fauna & Flora International’s partners in Scotland.

Revive the Clyde campaign video, courtesy of SIFT.

Their amusing (yet strangely sobering) campaign video uses hidden cameras to capture the reactions of unsuspecting local fish & chip shop customers when served with the ‘Firth of Clyde Special’ – a tiny fish representing all that is left in the Firth of Clyde, on Scotland’s west coast.

Fish for the future

The Firth of Clyde was once home to a great number of commercial fish species (including cod, herring and whiting) and supported jobs and communities across the west and south-west of Scotland.

But as fishing technology advanced, and the sheer volume of trawling (including damaging bottom trawling and dredging) grew, stocks began to decline sharply, and today the Clyde’s fish are simply too scarce or small to support a commercial fishery. Over 99.5% of the catch that is now landed from the Clyde is shellfish.

SIFT’s campaign is raising awareness of the Clyde’s decline, and asks the Scottish Government to take the necessary steps to restore this important marine environment to a healthy state.

The Firth of Clyde has enormous potential to support a more diverse fishery and generate jobs in other recreational sectors, which will boost both employment and job security and make the local economy more resilient.

Velvet swimming crab off the Isle of Arran, Scotland. Credit: Leigh Howarth/University of York.
Careful management can allow seas to recover, as seen in the Isle of Arran No Take Zone. Credit: Leigh Howarth/University of York.

SIFT is proposing a fisheries management approach that draws on local input and sound scientific advice.

Howard Wood, a local fisheries campaigner and Trustee of SIFT, explained: “We want to ensure that inshore marine habitats are properly protected, and fishing takes place at an appropriate level that enables the recovery of fish stocks and promotes and supports local jobs and communities.

“The decades of decline in fish numbers and fishing jobs in and around the Firth of Clyde can be reversed by adopting sustainable fisheries and marine management policies and we are asking those people who support this aim to join our campaign and help us to ‘Revive the Clyde’.”

As part of the campaign, SIFT is asking members of the public to sign up to the Clyde Charter on the campaign website at www.revivetheclyde.org and to follow the campaign on Twitter and Facebook.

Members of the public living in the Firth of Clyde area can also become ‘Clyde Champions’ to help promote the campaign locally.

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