The Scottish Wildlife Trust’s marine conservation work has received a major boost thanks to the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation. A £771,417 grant from the Foundation will allow the Trust to expand its Living Seas project over the next five years.
This support will allow the Trust to continue and increase its advocacy for a healthier marine environment and establish a hub of excellence for marine community engagement in Ullapool – building on work in the North West Highlands started in 2015, which included the development of Scotland’s first-ever snorkel trail and an innovative remote litter station.
Living Seas Communities Manager Noel Hawkins said: “Initiatives like our North West Highlands snorkel trail and the litter station at Dun Canna have generated interest from coastal communities all around Scotland.
“Over the last three years we’ve put over 50 kids through pool based training, and taken over 100 children out into the sea, helping them directly experience the marine life on their doorstep. Ultimately we’re aiming to work with local communities to show how they can benefit from healthy, living seas, and demonstrate that sustainable stewardship of the marine environment doesn’t mean people have to turn their back on the sea.”
Marine Planning Officer Dr Sam Collin said: “The future health of our seas faces several challenges, including the effect of Brexit on fisheries and the planned rapid expansion of Scotland’s aquaculture industry.
“Any further development of Scotland’s seas has to work within the limitations of the marine environment. Thanks to the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation the Trust will be able to continue playing an important role in ensuring the completion of Scotland’s network of Marine Protected Areas, and advocating for future legislation that creates a balance between environmental, social and economic benefits.”