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Geographical – August 2023

Geographical – August 2023
English | 86 pages | pdf | 76.49 MB

Conservation by consent

There are many lessons to be learned from this month’s report on the divisive row over the Scottish government’s attempt to impose wide-ranging marine-protection zones across the nation’s numerous islands. As Mark Rowe discovered (See Page 20), no such conservation measures stand any chance of succeeding without the support and agreement of the people they most affect. The islanders feared that the zones would impose arbitrary and unworkable restrictions on their way of life, going as far as to compare them to the Highland Clearances of200 years ago. It also reveals that long-standing grievances, such as the need for improved ferry services and access to broadband, can quickly sour any attempt at dialogue between central government and those who feel they’ve long been ignored. It comes as little surprise that as we went to press, politicians in the Orkney Islands were considering leaving the UK and allying themselves with Norway. The sad thing is that the islanders and the politicians in Edinburgh probably both agree that Scottish waters desperately need protection ( as, in fact, do those of England and most of the rest of the world). Artisanal fishers boosting meagre incomes with a few lobsters aren’t the problem. Perhaps first reining in the foreign industrial trawlers scraping the seafloor of all life and making the big Scandinavian fish farmers abide by the same rules in Scotland as they do in their own waters might have been a more diplomatic and fruitful way to start the conversation.
Graeme Gourlay, Publisher

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