We are very pleased that the Scottish Government has announced its support for the proposal for Fair Isle (the southernmost Shetland island) to become a Demonstration & Research Marine Protected Area, recognising the importance of the waters around the Isle to marine life. The large seabird colonies of Fair Isle are very well known as amongst the best in the British Isles although in the last 25 years they have experienced several periods of food shortage partly from over-fishing of sandeel and latterly from climate change effects on the sandeel populations. Besides seabirds, there are also Atlantic grey seals, harbour seals, and several species of cetacean – notably minke whale, killer whale, Atlantic white-sided dolphin, Risso’s dolphin and harbour porpoise regularly seen in its coastal waters. The proposal is to offer protection to Fair Isle waters out to 5 km from the shore.
The Fair Isle community has long campaigned for this with support from the Fair Isle Bird Observatory including Sea Watch’s Director, Dr Peter Evans, who helped put together the proposal submitted to the Scottish government. Members of the public are now being asked to give their views on this proposal as part of a public consultation which opened on 1st March, 2016 and which runs until 24th May, 2016. Full details, including links to the public consultation itself, can be found on the FIMETI (Fair Isle Marine Environment & Tourism Initiative) website.
If you want to explore the natural wealth of Fair Isle then we highly recommend watching this inspirational five minute film…
The consultation is the Scottish Government’s means of gauging public opinion. We have worked very hard to get to this stage but a strong response in favour is needed to demonstrate support. We urge you to send that message by engaging in the consultation. It is not very long or complicated. Please share with other friends and supporters of Fair Isle and/or add the website link to your own website: https://consult.scotland.gov.uk/marine-conservation/fair-isle-demonstration-and-research
Thank you very much for your interest and support for FIMETI and the Fair Isle community.
From the team at Sea Watch.