Scotland’s Argyll Coast and Islands have been declared a Hope Spot – the first in mainland United Kingdom – by international non-profit Mission Blue to shed light on the immense beauty, rich history and vibrant life along the country’s west coast. The Hope Spot also recognises the four community groups (CAOLAS, CROMACH, Friends of the Sound of Jura and Save Seil Sound) that have banded together under the Coastal Communities Network, Scotland, to raise community awareness of the need to encourage protection of Scotland’s unique marine ecosystems.
Mission Blue seek out Hope Spot sites around the world which contain the presence of rare, threatened or endemic species and sites which can demonstrate active community involvement and a real chance to reverse historical damage – the “Argyll Coast and Islands” was therefore considered a perfect location as it holds one of the last remaining strongholds of the critically endangered flapper skate and is a vibrant region for community-led conservation initiatives.
Dr. Sylvia Earle, founder of Mission Blue, says, “The Argyll Coast is a place of great beauty but also of great importance. It’s home to not only great people, with a love and appreciation for the sea, but of such a wonderful mix of creatures, from marine mammals; the dolphins, whales and seals to otters and birds. And of course, what’s under the surface, like the flapper skate, which is more endangered than the giant panda. Thank you for doing what you’re doing to ensure a healthy future for the Argyll Coast and for the rest of the world’s oceans. Congratulations on the first Hope Spot in Scotland and mainland United Kingdom!”
Kerri Whiteside, Fauna & Flora International’s (FFI) Marine Scotland Project Manager, says, “FFI is delighted to have supported the application process for this Mission Blue Hope Spot to go forward, we are excited to see what is in store for the Argyll Coast and Islands, as this fledgling initiative develops into the future. Our focus in Scotland currently is to ensure the aspirations of the Coastal Communities Network to enhance the protection of Scotland’s seas and to place communities at the centre of decision-making are met – we hope this is a big leap forward for the Argyll groups who came together to propose their Hope Spot. Moreover, witnessing initiatives such as this taking fruit inspires us all to believe that one day Scotland’s entire coastline will be synonymous with the idea of hope.”