scotland tagged posts

Kelp found off Scotland dates back to last ice age

Scientists have discovered kelp off the coast of Scotland, Ireland and France that has survived since the last ice age, around 16,000 years ago. Experts from Heriot-Watt University’s Orkney campus analysed the genetic composition of oarweed from 14 areas across the northern Atlantic ocean. The team found three distinct genetic clusters.

It is hoped the discovery could help show how marine plant life survives extreme changes in climate.

Dr Andrew Want collected samples from Kirkwall Bay, near his home.

The marine ecologist said the “refugee populations” managed to hang on and survive “amid dramatic changes”.

‘Critical role’

Dr Want, who is based at Heriot-Watt’s International Centre for Island Technology in Orkney, said: “Oarweed in Scotland and Ireland is more closely related to populati...

Read More

Scotland fails to protect marine wildlife from trawling


Marine conservation areas have failed to protect wildlife from the fishing industry, according to a study by Scottish Government scientists.

Researchers from the government’s marine laboratory in Aberdeen have found that less than one per cent of trawling and dredging around Scotland’s coast has been covered by controls in marine protected areas (MPAs). This is “unlikely to significantly reduce the fishing pressure” on rare seabed plants and animals, they say. The way MPA networks have been claimed to provide protection is “misleading”, they warn.

Environmental groups say the new study confirms fears that MPAs have been ineffective, and are calling for more restrictions on fishing...

Read More

First summit held on tackling marine litter in Scotland

marine plastics and debris

A package of funds to help local communities reduce plastic consumption is being launched at the first summit on marine litter in Oban. The one-day event brings together retailers, environmental groups and manufacturers to find new ways of reducing plastic in Scottish waters.

It has been organised by the Scottish government and comes on the eve of a ban on microbeads in Scotland.

Groups will be encouraged to create alternatives to single-use plastics.

  • Non-recycled plastic costs Scotland £11m annually
  • Why are microbeads controversial?

It could mean creating publicly available facilities which enable people to re-fill containers with drinking water rather than having to buy new bottles.

Another suggestion for the Action on Plastic Zero Waste Towns initiative is a scheme where takeaways ar...

Read More

Dismay at Barra conservation outcome

Barra Outer Hebrides

Campaigners in the Outer Hebrides have reacted with dismay after the Scottish Government announced the designation of the Sound of Barra as a marine Special Area of Conservation (mSAC). The ruling by environment minister Paul Wheelhouse means the sea and sandbanks between Barra and South Uist will go forward to the European Commission for inclusion in plans for an EU-wide network of SACs. The move follows a recommendation for designation from Scottish Natural Heritage last November – despite local concerns about restrictions on traditional livelihoods such as fishing and lack of accountability.

Action group Southern Hebrides Against Marine Environmental Designations (SHAMED), doubted whether eco-tourism would compensate for reduced fishing revenues.

Chairman Angus MacLeod said from his ...

Read More