HAPPY BIRTHDAY WESTER ROSS MARINE PROTECTION AREA.

Celebrating and Safeguarding the Future of Our MPA

The third in a series of three ‘Happy Birthday’ films dives deeper into the process of discovery within the Wester Ross MPA articulating our desire to preserve the MPA’s ‘umbrella effect’ as outlined in the two previous films. We explore highlights of the MPA, discovering some still intact and unrecorded maerl beds which are so essential to preserve.  Divers suggest there could be many more to be recorded which we hope to identify in later surveys. We also examine the damage done by dredging and check how these areas look a year on from the ban imposed in August 2015.  We were curious to investigate what it looked like near to existing fish farm cages and identify the less immediately obvious but potentially significant impacts of these farms, this is especially important due to concerns over potential new or expanded fish farms in the MPA.

It is our greatest hope that Wester Ross MPA proves to be an exemplary model of an MPA in which sustainable low impact fisheries and recovered ecosystems have a much deeper and wider socio-economic benefit for the community rather than damaging practices which allow the sea to be exploited for short term gains at the expense of the future.  We wish to demonstrate that a restored ecosystem provides much greater gains for coastal communities.  For that we need a well-protected MPA which has a chance for recovery.

A very special thank you goes to the dedicated cameraman Andy Jackson from SubSea TV and Ali Hughson (Keltic Seafare & Scottish Creel Fishermen Federation) for his generosity in providing the boat and back up divers. Thanks also to Donald Rice for funding Andy’ Jackson’s trip to Wester Ross and helping with the preparation of these films. And a huge thank you to WRASFB (Wester Ross Area Salmon Fishery Board) who funded Tom Nicholl who kindly edited these films. The survey was also supported by Ken Walton who helped Ali as a support skipper and Bill Wilder who offered his boat and himself as a skipper for two days. Thank you to Bernie McGee for the use of his lovely aerial shots. This generous help was given in support of the MPA and it allows Sea Change to explore possibilities for shared journeys of discovery and recovery within the MPA. Success truly is a collective effort. Thank you to everyone who played a part big and small! Please feel free to support our next survey, or join us if you agree with our aims, all are welcome.  https://www.facebook.com/SeaChangeWR/

For more information on some of the ways fish farming is believed to impact on other marine life see the links at the bottom of the page.

Salmon & Trout Conservation Scotland’s video about Loch Maree and Loch Ewe

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_dfbbkkVjs

http://www.salmon-troutscotland.org/fish_farming.asp

Wester Ross Fisheries Trust

http://www.wrft.org.uk/marine/sealouse.cfm

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