Scotland’s coast supports a multitude of species, such as basking sharks and dolphins, vast populations of seabirds along with cold-water corals and maerl beds. Although Scotland has recently established a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), the voices of the local communities that live in and around the coast are often left unheard in the management of their seas. Decision making is predominantly influenced by a powerful industrial fishing lobby.
In close partnership with the Community of Arran Seabed Trust (COAST) – recognised as global pioneers of community conservation – FFI is supporting a growing number of communities to develop their own aspirations for the management for their neighbouring coastal waters, helping fledgling community groups to realise their own ambitions for locally appropriate marine protection. Support to the Fair Isle community, for example, resulted in the establishment of a new MPA in their waters, which will enable research to determine how they can best protect the globally-renowned seabird colonies that nest here. In addition, FFI is helping these communities create a strong and sustainable Coastal Communities Network, to enable them to work together more effectively and create a community-led voice for Scotland’s inshore waters.