After the government allowed trawlers to come closer to Scottish shores in 1984, the marine ecosystem around the Isle of Arran steadily collapsed, as bottom-trawlers and dredgers intensively combed the seabed with their vibrating spikes. Now, more than 30 years later and following the interventions of local residents, there has been a dramatic revival in species of mollusks and finfish. A “no-take zone” implemented here in 2008 – after a community-based campaign to lobby the Scottish government – has been a huge success, according to a new report that shows a substantial increase in biodiversity. Lobsters are now over four times more abundant in the no-take zone, a 2.67 sq km area where fishing is not allowed, than in adjacent areas. The research, led by the University of York, shows king scallop density is four times higher than in 2013, carbon-absorbing weeds have returned to the seabed, and the area is now a nursery for juvenile fish, especially cod. The lobsters in the zone produce six times more eggs than outside it. “The seabed habitats are springing up,” says Howard Wood, co-founder of the Community of Arran Seabed Trust (Coast). “Without destructive forms of fishing, this amazing, complex seabed allows… Read full this story
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