June 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.

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Note from the Chair, Maureen Macmillan

Change of Directors
In May we said goodbye to two of our long-standing Directors, Michael Comerford and George Hogg. Michael and George have been Directors since 2004 and 1999 respectively, and have each contributed significantly to the activities of the Partnership through their wealth of knowledge, experience and skills. We thank them for their time with the Partnership, and wish them success for the future. Following these retirements, we are delighted to welcome three new Directors to our Board: Carol Barbone, Ben Leyshon and Alex Yelland. We would like to extend our warmest welcomes to the new Directors, and believe that their diverse and valuable experience and skills will be of great benefit to the Partnership in coming years.

   MFP staff have known Carol Barbone over several years through her role in decommissioning. She is a communications consultant specialising in stakeholder relations and environmental issues, and provides stakeholder relations for regulatory compliance on offshore decommissioning projects. She also has experience of working in the voluntary sector as a community campaign director.
Ben Leyshon has had a close involvement with the Moray Firth Partnership since 1991, and has an excellent working knowledge of the Moray Firth. His early roles with Scottish Natural Heritage were as Marine and Freshwater Adviser for North West Scotland and latterly in operations. Ben’s current role includes being Inner Moray Firth Team leader. Many years ago he provided maternity cover for Rachel, our previous MFP Manager, so he is well acquainted with our work and ambitions.
Alex Yelland is an honours graduate with qualifications in Communications and International Relations. He is currently the Manager for Policy, Government and Public Affairs with Chevron Upstream Europe, based in Aberdeen. He developed company policy and positions on corporate responsibility reporting and issues, and wishes to support sustainable economic development in the Moray Firth community by providing insight from a corporate perspective to advance MFP capability and goals.

Marine Planning - Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters
The pilot Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Spatial Plan is now finalised following endorsement by Orkney Islands Council and the Highland Council and ministerial approval. The Highland Council and Orkney Islands Council have adopted the pilot Plan as non-statutory planning guidance, acknowledging the status of the Plan as a material consideration in the determination of relevant planning applications.

The documents will help inform the development of statutory Regional Marine Plans and the working group will monitor how the pilot Plan is used to support marine licensing, works licence and planning decisions within their respective organisations. The Plan and all the associated documents are available on the Pentland Firth and Orkney Waters Marine Spatial Plan website.

A lessons learned report was recently published which will be extremely useful to inform the preparation of future regional marine plans and the governance arrangements that could underpin Marine Planning Partnerships.

Yacht racing returns to the Beauly Firth after 60 years
North Kessock Community Pier (NKCP) will host one of 10 races in this season’s Moray Yacht Axis Open Regatta 2016 Programme, after over 60 years of absence of yacht racing in the Beauly Firth. On 11th June, local clubs from Nairn, Chanonry, Invergordon and Cromarty will host races, with trophies awarded by individual clubs contributing towards MYA winners of class trophies and club teams.  This exciting news follows on from an informal race at NKCP’s Grand Opening last year, the popularity of which led to the decision to host annual races. Jim Prentice, Chair of the NKCP, with the help of Mike Burns, discovered that yacht racing in the Beauly Firth ended in 1952, despite an impressive 93 members racing for 10 trophies. Inverness Marina has kindly offered a 50% discount to yachts participating in the race.  The full MYA Open Regatta Programme for 2016 can be viewed here
For more information on NKCP contact Jim by email or go to the North Kessock Pier website.

Beatrice Offshore Wind Update
Beatrice Offshore Windfarm Limited (BOWL) have been given permission by its owners SSE, Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners (CIP) and SDIC Power to develop their latest £2.6 billion project in the outer Moray Firth. This project, one of the largest ever private investments ever made in Scottish infrastructure, is expected to power 450,000 homes - three times the number of homes in Moray and Highland regions combined. Construction will commence in 2017, delivering £680 million into the Scottish and UK economies through employment and supply chain opportunities. It is expected to be completed by 2019, and will deliver approximately £400-£525 million throughout its 25 year operational life. 
For more info please contact Kirstanne Land on 0141 224 7569, or by email.

Mackerel are back on the (sustainable) menu!
North-East Atlantic mackerel have regained their ‘sustainable’ status after being heavily fished during the ‘mackerel wars’ in 2012, as a result of fishermen and governments of 11 countries working together to regain sustainable status. The Mackerel Industry Northern Sustainability Alliance (MINSA) is a coalition between Scotland, England, Northern Ireland, Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, France, the Republic of Ireland and Lithuania.  MINSA led international negotiations to agree on significant new fisheries management agreements to protect stocks of Mackerel, and pioneered a partnership approach between fishermen and governments to demonstrate the strong commitment of the European pelagic fishing industry to sustainable fisheries management. Read more....

Bursaries for Sustainable Aquaculture degrees through the University of St Andrews
Aquaculture is recognised as being of great importance to the Scottish economy and people, particularly remote communities. Research into sustainable aquaculture is contributing to the growth of this industry, with courses run through several Universities throughout Scotland.  The University of St Andrews, along with TheFishSite.com, have secured funding to offer bursaries to students wishing to study a Postgraduate Diploma or MSc in sustainable aquaculture through a part-time, distance learning course. These Scottish Funding Council (SFC) bursaries will cover 70% of the £19,400 course fee and will be awarded on the basis of academic merit and financial need.  To find out more about these courses and bursaries, visit TheFishSite.com learning page or send an email.

Coastal Communities Fund to re-open for applications
The Coastal Communities Fund (CCF) will open to applications again this summer, the UK Government has announced. It is expected that this will happen in early July for Scotland as well as Wales and Northern Ireland.

“The CCF aims to encourage the economic development of UK coastal communities by awarding funding to create sustainable economic growth and jobs. Since the start of the CCF in 2012 we have awarded grants to 218 organisations across the UK to the value of £125 million. This funding is forecast to deliver over 12,000 jobs and help attract over £240 million of additional funds to coastal areas. The Big Lottery Fund is delivering the CCF on behalf of UK Government and the Devolved Administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.” Read more.... 

Firths and Fjords
Following on from the Firths and Fjords conference mentioned in our April newsletter, the project blog is now online, showcasing reflections and thoughts on the history of the northern Scottish firths, as well as the sea lochs, voes, straits, sounds, channels and bays. Guest blogs are welcomed from anyone who attended or was involved the conference, with suggested topics including the social, cultural and economic history of the Dornoch, Cromarty, Beauly, Kessock and Moray Firths; coastal ferries, transport and communications; and historical perspectives on firths and their communities.

New ‘MLitt Coastal and Maritime Societies and Cultures’ course at UHI
Led by the university’s Centre for History alongside the Archaeology Institute and Centre for Nordic Studies, this masters level degree will be available through UHI by distance-learning from 2017. The course is interdisciplinary, and designed to be of interest to those wishing to develop transferable skills with respect to coastal and maritime themes, and to all who wish to find a ‘pathway’ towards further arts and humanities-based research in these areas. Although it is taught from the Highlands and Islands, being a distance-learning course means that this degree is accessible globally. Read more....

Seashore Sampling Workshop
The Seashore Sampling Methodology workshop organised by the Moray Firth Partnership and run by marine biologist Mike Kendall, along with support and provision of laboratory facilities by the Fish Vet Group Environmental, was a success and was well-attended by a range of interested individuals.  Mike taught the group how to select a survey site, how to carry out the survey and how to identify what is found. We are grateful for generous support from Chevron Upstream Europe which made this workshop free for all to attend.

Portsoy Traditional Boat Festival – 25th and 26th June, 9am-5pm
The 2016 Scottish Traditional Boat Festival will be held in Portsoy on 25-26 June. The event celebrates the region’s cultural heritage and will be packed with maritime and rural history; crafts, music and art; sailing, rowing and more activities; and the very best local food. This is an event not to be missed! See the STBF Portsoy website for more details.

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:-