August 2016 eNews 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.

Are you missing out? If you don’t already receive the regular MFP e-bulletins, please send us your email address. To save resources and time, the MFP has reduced the number of printed newsletters and mail-outs. We produce regular e-bulletins, as well as occasional notices with breaking information regarding coastal and marine issues, consultations and local events. To be added to the list, please email us. This is free and you can unsubscribe at any time.

  Farewell to Kathryn

After an extended handover period, Kathryn Logan left the Moray Firth Partnership on 31st July. Kathryn worked for the partnership for 15 years, and has contributed significantly to developing it to where it is today. Kathryn left to develop her own business interests, taking on short-term contract work including research and report writing, project and events initiation and management, fund-raising etc as well as supporting continuing progression on marine and coastal management issues.

Kathryn has also become the custodian of the Moray Firth Gansey Exhibition, a collection of fishermen’s Ganseys and related artefacts collected through the MFP’s Gansey project. This will be until a permanent home can be found for the collection. We wish Kathryn all the best with her future endeavours, and thank her for her time with the Moray Firth Partnership.

  Special Protected Area Consultation

SNH have launched a public consultation on the latest suite of ten proposed marine Special Protection Areas (pSPAs) on behalf of the Scottish Government. This started on 4th July and will run for 12 weeks, finishing on 26th September. They are seeking opinions on the following topics:

• Proposed designations and bird species
• Scientific evidence
• Advice to support management
• Business and regulatory Impact Assessment

There is one pSPA in this latest round of proposed sites located in the Moray Firth, shown on the map here, totalling 1,762.36 km2. The Moray Firth pSPA has been proposed in recognition of:

A non-breeding population of European importance of the following Annex 1 species:

• Great northern diver (Gavia immer)
• Red-throated diver (Gavia stellata)
• Slavonian grebe (Podiceps auritus)

Regularly supporting populations of European importance of the following migratory species:

• Greater scaup (Aythya marila)
• Common eider (Somateria mollissima)
• Long-tailed duck (Clangula hyemalis)
• Common scoter (Melanitta nigra)
• Velvet scoter (Melanitta fusca)
• Common goldeneye (Bucephala clangula)
• Red-breasted merganser (Mergus serrator)
• European shag (Phalacrocorax aristotelis)

The full Business and Regulatory Impact Assessment relating to the Moray Firth pSPA, which contains information regarding the proposed site, can be viewed here.

The consultation is online here and SNH welcome responses from both individuals and organisations. Alternatively, you can submit a response by email.

Great Northern Diver (c) RSPB

  Black Isle Partnership Launch Bid for Landscape Partnership Scheme

A working group of the Black Isle Partnership is looking to submit a bid to the Heritage Lottery Fund to establish a Landscape Partnership Scheme for the Black Isle.

Landscape Partnership Schemes focus on heritage conservation in rural and peri-urban (the interface between urban and rural) regeneration. The aim is to conserve habitats on large scales through joined-up thinking and actions by local, regional and national organisations, resulting in benefits to both the landscapes and their communities. Grants between £100,000 and £3million are awarded and can be used to fund regeneration of all landscape types, from mountains to coasts.

The Black Isle Partnership working group, led by Richard Robinson, welcome suggestions for individual projects to contribute to the theme of:

“To strengthen links between the people of the Black Isle and the land and sea they live amongst”.

Any suggestions can be sent by email to Richard Robinson. The first stage of the application will be submitted in May 2017.

Black Isle Landscape (c) Black Isle Partnership

  The Moray Firth Partnership’s Gansey Project travels to Alaska!

Although main work on The Moray Firth Gansey Project ended in 2012, the interest in these fishermen’s jumpers and the local patterns which are part of our fishing heritage, is still very much alive. Our Gansey exhibition is now in its fourth year on UK tour and has been in Shetland, Aberdeen, Scarborough, Hull, Norfolk and Devon in the last two years, with well over 35,000 visitors.

The fishing town of Cordova on Prince William Sound in Alaska was the latest port of call for the MF Gansey Exhibition this year. Although this area has no tradition of knitted fishermen's jumpers, over twenty local knitters have seen the benefits of this style of garment and have been busy knitting using traditional patterns and techniques. The Cordova Gansey project started after the local wool shop owner Dorothy Widman was in Shetland in 2014 and saw our MF Gansey exhibition there. She got in touch and the rest is history. Kathryn Logan took the gansey exhibition to Cordova for the "Fisherfolk" Fibre Arts Festival Week 24 June - 3 July and gave various talks and presentations. The exhibition was professionally set up by the Cordova Museum and was a great success. It was staged alongside a week-long "retreat" with classes on various subjects, including gansey knitting instruction by the American Beth Brown-Reinsel, author of a "bible" on gansey knitting. Beth was also a highlight at the MF Ganseyfest intenational exhibition we held in 2011 in Inverness.

The Cordova area has many similarities with the North of Scotland, including a long fishing history and recent declines in fishing since the 1970s. They faced the devastation following the Exxon Valdise oil spill disaster, and learned from the earlier Braer oil disaster off Shetland. Although Cordova is on the mainland, it has no through road or rail connections, so travel there is by ferry or air. Sea planes are a common mode of transport. There are five glaciers round the area and the area is now a winter ski resort. The town and neighbourhood has occasional visits from bears and moose so it's an interesting place to visit.

One of the main differences with the Moray Firth is the salmon fishing - there are currently over 90 Cordova boats actively fishing for Pacific Salmon, with local canning and curing facilities to handle the catch. During the summer season, fishing vessels may be at sea for one or two months before returning to their home port. Large "tender" vessels go out to the area where the boats are fishing to take back the salmon from each day's catch so it is processed quickly without the fishing boats having to leave the area. Halibut, cod and other fish are also targeted. Local fishermen there seem to have many of the same issues as those in the Moray Firth, including predation by seals. Kathryn interviewed some of those involved in local fisheries and fisheries management and will write a short review which we hope to feature in a later edition.

Although Kathryn has left the MFP manager post, she has volunteered to continue to maintain the gansey exhibition meantime. Work is ongoing through volunteers to continue recording old ganseys from pictures and to chart the exhibits in various museums and private collections across the country. These will be added to an online database to facilitate future conservation and research. The MFP will set up a new email account to use for any gansey queries but in the meantime please use the main MFP email.

Click here for more information on the Cordova Gansey project.

  Seafood See Here postcards

The Seafood See Here project produced a set of 6 promotional postcards depicting seafood related themes that includes recipes, fishing heritage and local stories etc. to raise awareness of and stimulate interest in local seafood. The postcards were trialled initially with the Eilean Dubh restaurant in Fortrose and they have proved to be very popular!!

We are in the process of sending out sets of the cards to some of the food and drink businesses listed on the Seafood See Here interactive map for giving out to customers.

The postcards would appeal to local residents as well as tourists so if you would like a supply of the cards to distribute through your own business, or know of a local public leaflet display outlet, please do get in touch. 

  Bishop John Geddes's Coastal Tour (1790)

This story was posted to a wonderful local blog that is dedicated to exploring the history and archaeology of Dornoch and its neighbouring parishes. The blog is collaboration between Historylinks museum and the Centre for History at the University of the Highlands and Islands. Co-ordinated by Elizabeth Ritchie, the blog discusses artefacts and documents stored by the museum; museum activities; the history and archaeology out and about in the district; and history-related events happening in the area. They are interested in every time period and in people, places and things within a twenty five mile radius of Dornoch, which incorporates south east Sutherand and north east Ross-shire. All discussion is welcome as you are encouraged to explore how people used to live in this corner of the Highlands and how the place has changed! Read the blog….

  Micro-plastics Research in Spey Bay

The James A Mackie Memorial Trust was successful in a bid to "Money for Moray", a participatory budget program run by a group of volunteers distributing grant money from the Scottish Government and Moray Council. The Trust was awarded £3000 to fund research into micro-plastics in marine species of fish within the Spey Bay area of the Moray Firth. Micro-plastics have been identified in many published papers and are a major pollutant of the marine environment. Micro-plastics are known to plasticise fish guts slowing growth and causing death. They are also believed to mimic oestrogens thus interfering with reproduction and altering the sex of some fish species. One of the main sources of micro-plastics is from human cosmetic products that are not removed from waste water by sewage treatment plants.

The research is being carried out by Shanna Patterson who will be working within the facilities provided by Marine Scotland's Marine Lab in Aberdeen. The Spey District Salmon Fishery Board and Marine Scotland Freshwater Laboratories at Faskally, Pitlochry have both given written permission for the taking of a number of Sea Trout smolts prior to them entering the marine environment followed by sampling of Finnock (small Sea Trout) on their return from feeding in the sea. Further samples of marine species will be collected from the by catch of local creel fishermen as well as rod and line catches from both the shore and at sea.

Samples taken so far include Ling, Saith, Mackerel, Wrasse, Scorpion Fish, whelks and a Hermit crab. It is hoped to increase the number of samples collected over the following months as well as spreading the range of species. Although primarily targeting bottom feeders, samples of mid water species will also be taken to ascertain if there has been any ingestion of pieces of plastic such as rope strands and particles broken off larger plastic products such as bottles. The project is funded until May 2017. The Trust would appreciate bycatch samples from creel fishermen to increase the number and range of samples. For further information please contact the Trust chairman James A Mackie, by email or phone + 44 (0) 1343 870310.

Funding News

  Celebrating Scotland's Heritage with Stories, Stones and Bones

Stories, Stones and Bones is all about making funding easily accessible to help communities celebrate Scotland's Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology in 2017. Grants from £3,000 - £10,000, with a straightforward application form and short decision time, will be available to fund projects that introduce lots of new people to heritage in new and creative ways. There are two deadlines to apply to Stories, Stones and Bones. The first deadline is Friday 30 September 2016 (decisions in November 2016) and the second is Tuesday 31 January 2017 (decisions in March 2017). Read more….

  Postcode Local Trust Opens for Applications

The Postcode Local Trust has announced that it will re-open for applications on the 1st September 2016. The Trust provides financial support for charities and good causes which help communities enhance their natural environment in a way that benefits the wider community. Registered charities can apply from £500 - £20,000 and other constituted not for profit organisations can apply for up to £2,000 for community based projects that improve local ecology and habitats, encourage bio-diversity and benefit the wider environment.  The closing date for applications will be the 30th September 2016. Read more….


Scottish Biodiversity Newsletter

The Summer 2016 issue of the Scottish Biodiversity newsletter is available online.  Read more....

SEA Exhibition at Duff House

‘SEA’ is an exhibition that explores the work of artists who are inspired by the coastal communities in Scotland. The exhibition is at Duff House, Banff from 2 July until 28 August 2016. All the artists featured are members of the Royal Scottish Academy in Edinburgh. Read more….

Rare Orca sighting in the Moray Firth!

A pod of Icelandic Orca, known in Scotland as the 'Northern Isles' community, made a rare appearance in the Moray Firth in May. This is the furthest south that this pod has been sighted, normally moving between Iceland and northern Scotland. While this is a first for this particular pod, identifiable by individual markings, resident Scottish pods have been sighted in the Moray Firth before and can be regularly seen around the Hebridean islands.  Read more....

Coast and Glen – FishBox – Young Director of the Year

Magnus Houston, Director and co-founder of Coast and Glen/Fishbox has been short-listed for Young Director of the Year at the UK-wide Institute of Directors Awards!! Good luck Magnus!! Read more.... 

Scottish Rural Network's Photo Competition

The Scottish Rural Network is offering a hamper of Scottish goodies and a £100 voucher for the under-16s category of their ‘Celebrating Rural Scotland’ photo competition! Entries to the competition are invited for the categories: Angus, Culture and Leisure, Food and Drink, Health and Happiness, House and Home, and People. The competition closes on 5th September. Read more....

Upcoming Events

  Ardersier Beach Clean, Saturday 3rd September

Ardersier is a known ‘litter drop’ due to tidal currents, and so marine litter collects here in disproportionately high volumes. The MFP is holding a beach clean here on Saturday, 3rd September. The group will meet at 11.00 for approximately two hours; low tide is at 13.30 and so the incoming tide should be avoided. The MFP will provide litter pickers, bags, gloves etc. – but so we know numbers, please contact Robyn on 01463 725027 or drop us an email if you wish to attend!

  The Great British Beach Clean

The Marine Conservation Society’s annual Great British Beach Clean is being held from 16th-19th September! This UK-wide event brings together communities to clean and record the rubbish on their local beaches. Last year, over 1400 people cleaned a record-breaking 75 beaches – and we hope that record will be beat again this year!

The event not only removes litter that is harmful, unsightly and even lethal to marine life from the coast, but records of what is collected provide information on the type of litter on our beaches, which helps inform the MCS and others how to tackle marine litter at its source. This year, the MCS launched a ‘Wet Wipes Turn Nasty When you Flush Them’ campaign, urging manufacturers to add a ‘DON’T FLUSH’ message to their packaging, after a 400% rise in wet wipes on the beach was revealed. Other victories have included the 5p plastic carrier bag charge, and this year the MCS are campaigning to introduce a bottle deposit return scheme in Scotland.  To find your nearest beach, or to organise your own clean, go to the Beachwatch website or email Catherine Gemmell.

  Sharing Good Practice event - recognising and reporting wildlife crime in Scotland

Scottish Natural Heritage and the Partnership for Action against Wildlife Crime will be holding this event on Wednesday 14 September 2016 at the Battleby Conference Centre.  Aimed at representatives of outdoor recreation organisations (walkers, cyclists, dog walkers, horse riders), and those in wider conservation and land management who wish to inform a variety of audiences about wildlife crime. The event will enable people to recognise what wildlife crime looks like and to understand what actions should then be taken. It offers participants the opportunity to share case studies, explore some of the barriers to the prevention and enforcement of wildlife crime and to discuss opportunities for good practice.  To reserve a place at this event please complete the booking form online.

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