Boats & Wildlife – Discussion Session

Boats & Wildlife – Discussion Session George Dobbie, Director, Moray Firth Partnership

Q: Martin Hind: The survival rate of the 6 calves is not great is it? Less than half?
A: Paul Thomson (PT): That would be correct – about half of the calves will make it to adulthood

Q: Peter Tilbrook: Although the focus is dolphins – with a degraded marine ecosystem and protection designations in place for what’s there – should we be talking about restoration? Improve fish stocks and biodiversity?
A: PT: Yes but restoration of a degraded marine environment is limited – artificial reefs – allowing the natural ecosystem to re-colonise.

Q: Sandy Patience/FAL: Re over fishing statement – there is no over-fishing now due to regulations.
A: PT: Yes but the size of the stock is still much reduced, however it occurred. Political decisions are often made against scientific advice. Fisheries are now tightly controlled but this is still not sustainable.

Q: Peter MacDonald/FoMFD: Re harbour development – it seems to me that the locals are being squeezed of our small harbours with berths going for high sums to outsiders. Perhaps more thought should be given to planning for ‘culture’? There needs to be more control over future development. Pontoons spoilt the views of harbours. I also think the boundaries of the SAC should be increased to include Lossiemouth.

Q: Delegate added that the disabled access is used by children for roller skating and is not used by the disabled.

Q: Delegate added Royal Findhorn Yacht Club only operates during the summer months and is now considered to be a dangerous facility.
A: George Dobbie: These are general harbour H&S issues that shold be taken up and addressed by the relevant harbour authority.

Q: Donnie Macleod: Re tourism – low carbon holidays?
A: Fred Gordon: EG the Cairngorms aim is to increase tourism but they haven’t addressed the issues of carbon footprints from the international market. More boats mean more people which is good for the economy but cannot be allowed to destroy natural heritage.

PT: An issue for broad scale development plans – look at climate change scenarios.

Q: Stuart Campbell/Alness Initiative: When are we going to have a joined up continuous Moray Firth coastal cycle/foot paths?
A: George Dobbie: MFP are continuing to promote the Moray Firth Trail/Nortrail routes.
A: Sinclair Young: Database of walks.

The Chair concluded the session noting that getting people here (the Moray Fiith area) sustainably will be a challenge for the future.