International award for COAST’s marine restoration campaign30 April 2015
Howard Wood, chairman and co-founder of grantee COAST (Community of Arran Seabed Trust), one of the UK’s leading community marine conservation organisations, was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize for its marine restoration campaign.
It is the first time that this highly prestigious recognition, the largest prize for grassroots environmentalists worldwide, has come to Scotland and only the second time it has been made to somebody in the UK.
The Goldman Environmental Prize honours and recognizes individuals struggling to win environmental victories against the odds and inspires ordinary people to take extraordinary actions to protect the world’s natural resources.
COAST, which Esmée Fairbairn has supported since 2006, was established to champion sustainable management of marine resources for the benefit of all.
COAST has fought against the degradation of marine life in the area of sea surrounding Arran particularly from scallop dredging and bottom trawling.
In 2008 it successfully established a No Take Zone (NTZ) in Lamash Bay and in July last year following COAST’s proposal, the Scottish Government designated a large area of the sea around the south of Arran as one of 30 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
However, COAST still needs to ensure adequate protection is given to the South Arran MPA and wants to establish better marine management for the whole Firth of Clyde.
COAST is now launching an online petition urging Scottish policy makers to end dredging and bottom trawling in marine protected areas.
Howard said: “The Scottish Government has a duty to manage the marine environment as a public asset, for now and for the future and to give local communities a real say in management.
“Convincing the Scottish Government of the need for Scotland’s first ever No Take Zone (NTZ) and following this with a designated Marine Protected Area has been a huge achievement. The NTZ's is already recovering and the MPA will help to restore marine species and important fish nursery habitats.”
The Scottish government is due to announce its proposals for the management of MPAs in Scotland this summer.