Volunteering: Isle of Arran Volunteer Day

The Vp team members in attendance were Michael Adamson – Brandon Hire Station Compliance Team, Jamie Crichton – Branch Manager of Brandon Hire Station Glasgow Kingston Bridge, Terry Girvan – Brandon Hire Station Regional Account Manager, Karen Yuill – Senior Depot Manager of Torrent Trackside Glasgow, Scott Clarke – MEP Hire Regional Sales Manager and Ewan Sanderson – MEP Hire Product Director.

For the past three decades the people of Arran have campaigned to stop mobile fishing that damages the seabed’s, jeopardising future livelihoods and wildlife.

In 2014, Fauna & Flora International (FFI) partnered with an organisation local to Arran called COAST (The Community of Arran Seabed Trust) to develop support for coastal communities in Scotland and bring together a network of community-led voices for marine protection. What emerged became the Coastal Communities Network (CCN), 21 community-based organisations united by a desire for more action to be taken to protect and restore Scotland’s marine environment. FFI supports individual members of CCN to establish their own operations and governance, raise their own funds, and develop their own initiatives. Together groups engage on a range of issues, including salmon farming, marine plastic pollution, and marine habitat restoration. Vp are supporting the CCN to expand their impact via FFI.

Lamlash Beach

COAST’s impact to date has been to lead the community in the creation of Scotland’s first No Take Zone in Lamlash Bay (NTZ) in 2008. Within this 700 acre area no fishing of any sort is permitted and the full history of the no take zone can be found here. In 2016, the South Arran Marine Protected Area (MPA) extended this area to nearly 75,000 acres to exclude scallop dredging but allow for other, potentially more sustainable, fishing methods in various zones.

Despite this protection, salmon farming, illegal fishing, electrofishing, pollution and ineffective management still pose a risk to our waters, protected or not. This is why COAST are heavily involved with consultations and campaigns. They want to share their local knowledge and experience to improve the way our seas are managed.

Write up of the day

Michael Adamson

On Wednesday 12th September 2022, a team of Vp employees from Brandon Hire Station, MEP Hire and Torrent Trackside went to find out more about what COAST does on the Isle of Arran and to assist in keeping our beaches free of rubbish.

Via the ferry across the Firth of Clyde, our day stared off with meeting up with Alan Munro of Fauna & Flora International (FFI) who, along with Fred Pilkington – Group Sustainability Manager, organised our trip. We then got the bus from Brodick ferry terminal to the small town of Lamlash where we then met up with Anna Balls and Áine Purcell-Milton who joined us from COAST.

View from the ferry

Once we had all met up in Lamlash, Áine and Anna took us to the beach where we did some rock pooling. We paired up, were given a tray each for identifying critters and let loose on the rock pools to see what we could find. Áine and Anna were there to offer us guidance and help us identify the various things that we found.

Between us, we found a Shrimp, a Blenny Fish, a couple of shore Crabs, some Sea Anemones and a starfish, along with many various types of shells and seaweeds. Once we had all gathered to see and discuss what we had all caught, we released everything back into the same rock pools that they came from – no sea creatures were harmed!

Rock pooling and identification session

After rock pooling, we all got our gloves on, got our litter pickers and rubbish bags and headed back onto the coast to do a beach clean.  We walked along the length of the beach picking up anything from bottles, cans, cigarette ends, plastic and cardboard. By the end of the beach clean, we had six big bin bags full of rubbish.

COAST’s Discovery Centre

When we had finished the beach clean, we were taken into the COAST Discovery Centre, Scotland’s first MPA Visitor Centre, and shown around their tanks for the various habitats that there are in the sea and told what kind of activities that they provide, much like what they had organised for us.

It was a very interesting day enjoyed by everyone that took part. We would like to thank COAST and FFI for getting us involved in the day’s activities.

COAST’s Aquarium


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