Instigator of Scotland’s First No Take Zone (NTZ) Wins the Goldman Environmental Prize

Posted by Jim Kerr - 22/04/2015 16:54:00

Seastar Survey Ltd. was delighted to discover that Mr Howard Wood has received the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize. Mr Wood was one of the founders of the Community of Arran Seabed Trust (COAST) and played a key role in the campaign to set up Scotland’s first NTZ, in Lamlash Bay. The purpose of a NTZ is to provide fish and other invertebrates the opportunity for reproduction, spawning and recruitment in an area which will not be subjected to physical damage by fishing gear or other physical gear which frequently occurs in marine and estuarine areas.

Historically, Lamlash Bay was rich in marine life and prior to 1994 the Lamlash Bay fishing festival was held by the Arran Sea-Angling Association over two days each year. In 1968 the festival resulted in total fish catches weighing in excess of 7,700 kg, by the 1980’s the catch fell to less than a tenth of this and in 1994 (the final year of the festival) the catch was less than 61 kg. The annual event was once a huge economic boost to the island. The NTZ was established in Lamlash Bay to provide an opportunity for local marine life to recover from years of exploitation.

In 2008 and 2009, Seastar Survey Ltd. undertook the initial monitoring of the Lamlash Bay NTZ and surrounding area to establish a baseline for the future success of management measures in delivering benefits to both the biodiversity and the scallop fishery in the bay. An acoustic mapping survey with ground-truthing (camera deployments and sediment sampling) was undertaken to create maps of the habitats and biotopes within the bay. In recent years this baseline data has been used to establish the success of the NTZ in enriching marine life in the Bay.