Newsletter No18 September 2018
We are having a meeting at the village hall on Sunday 2nd December. There has been a great deal going on! Please come and hear all about it.
Help the Kelp!
Friends of the Sound of Jura have been asked to let our supporters know how they can help this campaign.
You may have seen on social media and the news about an application to harvest kelp from areas around the west coast.
We have looked at the plans by a company who are keen to use machinery which will harvest the Kelp in an extremely damaging way. Studies of similar operations in Norway have shown how devastating this has been.
The Kelp forest is extremely important for so many reasons. These include habitat for many species, costal protection, nursery grounds important for the fishing industry, hand seaweed harvesters and marine tourism.
Sir David Attenborough has added his voice to the campaign:-
In September the Scottish Parliament passed an amendment to the Scottish Crown Estate Bill which would protect Scotland’s kelp forests. The whole of the Scottish parliament are due to vote on this on Wednesday.
Anybody wishing to see these Kelp forests protected is urged to write to their MSPs either using twitter https://twitter.com/Savekelp/status/1063467700456960000?s=20
or letter or e-mail https://www.writetothem.com/
Here are some of the comments being sent so far:-
Large scale mechanical kelp harvesting on the west coast would expose low lying coasts to much more wave energy, at a time when climate change is already increasing storm strength, increasing the risk of erosion and flooding for coastal communities.
Kelp is the most important carbon sink in Scotland's coastal waters.
Kelp forests are much more than a raw material for the chemical industry - they are nurseries and sheltering places for commercially important fish and crustaceans; they also feed otters and seals (which are European Protected Species), as well as supporting a wealth of other species.
There is a perfectly good alternative to pulling up kelp by the holdfast (as this method clearly does in Norway) which is to farm seaweed on vertical ropes. The Scottish Association of Marine Science in Oban have well-developed seaweed farming technologies ready to go and they are already working well at Rathlin, Northern Ireland. The same number of jobs could be created in west coast factories processing farmed seaweeds, and more would be created, dispersed all around our coasts, at the farms.
For these reasons I urge you to support the amendment to the Crown Estates Bill to prevent forms of harvesting that remove the whole plant, in the vote on Wednesday.
Friends of the Sound of Jura