Autumn 2015 eNews

Welcome to the latest Moray Firth Partnership e-news bulletin.

The Moray Firth Partnership brings together people, knowledge and resources to make the most of our coast and seas, now and for future generations. We provide a neutral forum and encourage networking and integration to bring diverse interests together and help them develop joint actions.

Exciting Job Opportunity at the MFP

After 14 years with the MFP, Kathryn Logan will be leaving to take some well-earned time out to explore more exotic climes and to develop her own business.  We are therefore looking for a new manager to take over the helm.  Kathryn’s wide-ranging local knowledge and experience of managing the company, supporting local initiatives and developing internationally-acclaimed projects won’t be lost however.  She will be providing support over an extended hand-over period so the new manager has time to get to grips with the wide-ranging workload and to recruit additional administrative support to make up the new team. Read more....

Putting Seafood on the Map

2015 is Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink, with more chances than ever to sample and celebrate Scotland’s fantastic natural larder and diverse produce, as well as to enjoy the landscapes, people and culture that make our food heritage unique. The MFP led Seafood – See Here! project has had a very busy few months, with a range of seafood cookery demonstration and taster events, and finishing off key elements of the project including the website, films, postcards etc.

SeafoodSeeHere.com shows you where to source some of the world’s finest sustainable seafood landed right here in the north of Scotland and gives tips on how to enjoy what’s in season. Check out the map for your nearest fishmongers, fish vans, restaurants, markets etc., and do let us know of other businesses that should be added in.  Our short video to promote the North’s seafood is online and we have more local engagement work and events planned over the rest of the year. This includes a hands-on session for individuals keen to learn new tips and ideas on preparing and cooking fish to be held in the fantastic training kitchen at the new Inverness UHI campus. 

Thanks to Stuart Stirling, Inverness College Hospitality Manager, for his support.  More info and dates will be circulated next month.

Next Steps
The first stage of the Seafood – See Here! project was part financed by the Scottish Government and the Highland, Moray and Aberdeenshire European Fisheries Fund Axis 4 Programmes. The project steering group is currently looking at opportunities to develop a second phase and to continue the ambitious outreach programme in conjunction with local fishermen, suppliers, seafood industry and local communities and businesses. Contact Kathryn for more info and to take part.

Scottish National Marine Plan - Lessons Learned – Your views

Scotland’s National Marine Plan is the first national Marine Plan to be published in the UK and as a result, the process by which it was created was a new one. Marine Scotland is now looking at how the Plan was created to find out what went well and what didn’t. The lessons learned will be used when the Marine Plan is reviewed in three years and to feed in to future work, including the development of future regional marine plans. Marine Scotland is seeking views from those who were involved in the process, and those who have an interest, and ask:

• What do you think went well?
• What do you consider to have been less successful?
• What could be done differently for the next National Marine Plan?

The survey should only take around 10 minutes and your feedback will be very helpful. Read more and respond....

Scottish Regional Marine Planning – where we’re at…

Scotland’s first National Marine Plan (published March 2015) provides a comprehensive, strategic framework for managing all marine activity in Scotland’s seas. It covers both inshore waters to 12 nautical miles (nm) and offshore waters (12 – 200 nm) and applies to both reserved and devolved functions. Land-sea interactions are also taken into account. The inter-tidal zone between low and high water springs is covered by both terrestrial planning and marine planning authorities, as detailed in the Scottish Government circular “The Relationship between the Statutory Land Use Planning System and Marine Planning and Licensing”.

The nation’s vision is for “Clean, healthy, safe, productive and diverse seas; managed to meet the long term needs of nature and people.” The plan has chapters covering eleven different sectors such as sea fisheries, oil and gas, recreation and tourism, shipping, ports and harbours. It sets out a range of policies, objectives and requirements that must be taken into consideration by public authorities when making decisions that would impact on the marine area. The plan also sets out key considerations for future development of regional marine plans, which will provide more detailed management proposals for managing the increasing demands for the use of our marine environment, encouraging economic development of marine industries and incorporating environmental protection into marine decision making.

Eleven Scottish Marine Regions (SMRs) were created under the Scottish Marine Regions Order 2015 on 13 May 2015, which cover from mean High water Springs to 12nm. The Moray Firth area from Duncansby Head at John O’Groats to Kinnaird Head at Fraserburgh is one SMR. It’s proposed that each SMR will have its own Marine Planning Partnership which will be responsible for producing a Regional Marine Plan. Setting up the Marine Planning Partnerships for all 11 areas will be done in phases with the Clyde and Shetland launching this year. Orkney and Western Isles are likely to be next in line to start the process in 2016.

There is no fixed timetable yet for developing the Moray Firth regional marine plan but the MFP is proactively engaging with the process so we can hit the ground running when the MF’s turn comes. All the current marine planning guidance and information is provided by Marine Scotland and is available online.

Regional Marine Planning - Planning for the Future of the Moray Firth

The Moray Firth Partnership held an open meeting on 18/05/15 to start discussions about the potential way forward for regional marine planning in the Moray Firth area. Over fifty stakeholders took part from a wide range of sectors. A full summary of the day’s discussion and outline of next steps will be available online soon. The morning session included information about the background to regional marine planning, and looked at examples of plans from the Shetland area and the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Spatial plan.

Afternoon discussions focused on three topics:

• Assessing the Condition of the Moray Firth area
• Formation of a Moray Firth Marine Planning Partnership
• Criteria for a MF Regional Marine Plan

The MFP board is keen to see the Partnership have a pro-active role in the eventual new Moray Firth area Marine Planning Partnership. We will be liaising further with a wide range of stakeholders to develop an options paper for Marine Scotland by March 2016 on the type of set up for a regional Marine Planning Partnership (MPP) that would be most appropriate for the Moray Firth area.

Inshore Fisheries Groups are identified in the National Marine Plan as having a key role in representing fisheries interests on the new MPP and further discussions with the local IFG will start to look at how their local fisheries management plan might feed in to the eventual regional marine plan covering all uses and sectors.

The draft Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Spatial Plan has recently been out to consultation. Although not a “regional marine plan” as such, the valuable lessons learned over the years in which this plan has been developed will help lead the way for future plan development.

The next Highland Enviornment Forum meeting on 23th September at Great Glen House, Inverness has a marine theme, including Shorewatch, citizen science, scallop ranching, the Highland Seashore Project and marine litter. The Moray Firth Partnership will be leading one of the workshop on Marine Planning Partnerships and using the MF as an example to discuss how people can get involved in the process. The agenda can be viewed here.  To book a place please contact Caroline Vawdrey by email.

Out and About in July and August

Port of Cromarty Firth and RNLI Open Day, Invergordon, Saturday 4th July
Though the heavens opened (and remained open for the best part of the day!) the Port and Invergordon RNLI joint open day had a steady stream of visitors keen to have a closer look behind the scenes and enjoy the activities and displays on offer. The Port of Cromarty Firth is a Trust Port, which means there are no shareholders so any profits made by the port are ploughed back into the business for the benefit of the local area. The Port has a key role within the local community as well as helping to manage and protect the environment and has been a supporter of the MFP since its inception. Our Chair Maureen Macmillan helped man the MFP stand and we had lots of interest including from the visiting cruise liner passengers.

Chair Maureen Macmillan with her willing helpers                                            Ardross Pipe Band entertain the crowds

Scottish Traditional Boat Festival, Portsoy, Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th July
Although the MFP didn’t have its own stand at Portsoy this year, Kathryn Logan and the Seafood - See Here! project had a very busy weekend. To celebrate Scotland’s Year of Food and Drink, the Festival’s renowned Food Fayre programme was expanded to include a second marquee providing tasty samples of “Fishermen’s Fare” by the Old Harbour, with a “taste-off” between traditional Norwegian and Scottish recipes. Norway won this time, so watch out next year! Crowds of people were waiting to try the tasty fresh fish!

Seafood - See Here! project providing Scottish seafood samples

Portsoy’s boat festival is a rare occasion when one can see so many traditional boats and artisan crafts in one place. And the new “Portsoy Organisation for Restoration and Training” is making sure those old skills are passed on to future generations. The newly restored boat shed is a fantastic resource well worth a visit.  We enjoyed the Rowing Regatta of St Ayles Skiffs with members of the Scottish Coastal Rowing Association. Many areas and clubs now have their own Skiffs, built by volunteers through community based projects. These encourage people of all ages to become involved in building and rowing their own craft, using the sea for fitness, friendship, learning traditional skills and competition.

  ‘Esther’, Ardersier Boat Clubs ‘St Ayles’ skiff

Seafood at the Scottish 6 Days Orienteering O-Fest, Darnaway, Forres, Tuesday 4th August
We were delighted to have been invited to participate in the orientieering O-Fest event. The 4th August at Darnaway Castle saw teams from many nations taking part in the World Championships. What a fantastic location!  Our cooking supremos for the day were Maria Darrow-Bland, JDEC Catering and food writer and food product developer Liz Ashworth who has been helping the project from the start. Maria and Liz cooked up some fantastic dishes, including fish soup, fish curry, fish stir fry with noodles, fish stew in filo baskets and Norwegian style “fiskeballer” (fishcakes). We also served delicious cold potted smoked salmon and smoked haddock on Nairn’s oatcakes throughout the day, which was a great fast treat for visitors and competitors.  A big thank you to Downies Fish and Wester Ross Salmon for their donated product and in particular to “Stovie Castle” who very kindly let us use their splendid catering van when strong winds made it impossible to cook in the marquee.

Darnaway Castle                                                                                      Maria and Liz busy serving seafood samples

Snippets / In the News

Highland’s Hidden Homes – Highland Seashore Project Film
This short film is colourful and captivating with a vibrant musical score – an ideal way to enthuse all age groups about the diversity of life in the shallow waters of the Highlands. Highland’s Hidden Homes narrative was built around the theme of Scottish hospitality, exploring which sort of homes – and welcomes – you might find underwater! It was produced for Highland Seashore Project by SubseaTV, who film for the BBC and National Geographic, with an original Score by composer Mairearad Green. The film can be viewed at SubseaTV or via this Vimeo link, and the Subsea TV blog can be read here.  Please feel free to share!  

Jellyfish Sightings – Can you Help?
The Marine Conservation Society needs your help with jellyfish research! If you spot a jellyfish around the UK, they want to know about it. Your reports will help them understand how jellyfish species react to environmental changes including climate change. Something a little different for families to do at the weekend and great point of interest for kids - just don’t handle them! Read more....

Recorded deaths of Scottish seafarers online for the first time
For those interested in family and maritime history, a complete record of the deaths of Scottish seafarers from late Victorian times until 1974 is now available online for the first time. Over 14,000 new records are available online from the National Records of Scotland through http://www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk/. The records contain hundreds of entries for Scottish sailors, engineers and other crewmen who died in every corner of the world, whether at sea, or in foreign ports or hospitals, including crewmen on the Titanic. Read more....

Marine Scotland’s first national survey of coastal & marine recreation
In August, Marine Scotland launched its first national survey of tourism and recreation around the Scottish coast and seas. The survey will help ensure that marine and coastal recreation is appropriately recognised in the planning process, providing the kind of information needed to be considered alongside other activities like shipping, off-shore renewables and fish farming. It will also help justify and guide future investment in facilities and infrastructure. Read more....

Diary Dates

Great British Beach Clean - 18 to 21 September
Calling all beach lovers - Your beach needs you! The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) want to make this year’s Great British Beach Clean the biggest ever and invites you to join in over the weekend of the 18th-21st September. MFP staff will be cleaning their adopted beach too. For more information and to sign up please click here or contact Catherine Gemmell by email.

Highland Environment Forum – 23 September
The next Highland Environment Forum meeting on 23 September at Great Glen House, Inverness has a marine theme, including Shorewatch, citizen science, scallop ranching, the Highland Seashore Project and marine litter. The Moray Firth Partnership will be leading one of the afternoon workshops on Marine Planning Partnerships and using the MF as an example to consider how to get more people involved in the process. To take part, contact Caroline Vawdrey by email.

Highland “Doors Open” Days - September
Every weekend in September you can explore new places including many that are normally closed to the public through the Doors Open event. Discover the architecture, places and spaces right on your doorstep or explore a new part of the country. On Saturday 19th September (11am – 5pm) the Seafood- See Here! project will be joining forces with the Waterlines Heritage Centre at Lybster, Caithness. The Waterlines café will have a special seafood dish and we’ll be handing out leaflets to visitors to help celebrate the area’s fishing and fish curing heritage, with details of a walk from the harbour up the old fish path, with spectacular views of the Caithness coast. Contact Waterlines on 01593 721520.

Wick Waves Seashore Festival - 21 to 26 September
Events suitable for all tastes and interests will take place in and around Wick. The history, culture, art, music and sea life of the area all come together in the perfect fusion of a fun family festival. Read more....

Scottish Inshore Fisheries Conference – 09 October
The third Scottish Inshore Fisheries Conference on Friday 9 Oct 2015 is aimed at working fishermen from around Scotland and will provide an informal and interactive opportunity to share experiences and knowledge on a wide range of fishing and seafood industry issues. For more info and to book, read more....

Coming Soon - Seashore Exploration Workshop
The MFP is one of the groups involved in the Highland Seashore Project steering group. Watch out for news of the next event, which the MFP will be helping to organise at Rosemarkie later in the year, with biologist Mike Kendall.

The Moray Firth Partnership wishes to thank its key core sponsors and donors, who enable us to complete a wide range of work, including:-