Community of Arran Seabed Trust (COAST)

A ground-breaking community led project to rewild the seas around Arran and the Clyde

Community of Arran Seabed Trust (COAST)
Looking towards Ailsa Craig and the south coast of Arran. Photo by Susan Wright

COAST is a community led organisation working for the protection and restoration of the marine environment around Arran and the Clyde. In 1995, two Arran divers, Howard Wood and Don MacNeish, set up COAST after witnessing the dramatic decline in Arran’s marine habitats.

The decline was largely due to the havoc wreaked by bottom trawling and scallop dredging within three miles of the coast. The decimation of the fish stocks had an evident impact on Arran’s community. Its last international sea-angling festival was held in 1994 and saw catches down by 96 per cent.

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Today, COAST is an inspiring example of how communities can lead the protection of local habitats for the benefit of everyone. They were responsible for the establishment of Scotland’s first No Take Zone in Lamlash Bay. And they enjoy widespread support on Arran and beyond.

COAST is now campaigning for the complete exclusion of trawlers and dredgers from the newly designated south Arran Marine Protected Area (MPA).

The resulting dramatic recovery in the bay’s marine life has helped to sustain the livelihood of those dependent on fishing and tourism. It has increased the popularity of the area as a diving site and tourist destination. Just as importantly, it is educating future generations on the need for marine conservation.

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