Blue Hope Alliance – project officer, marine conservation

£10,000 awarded

The Blue Hope Alliance is a coalition of organisations around the Wester Ross Marine Protected Area (MPA) who work together using citizen science to record species present in the MPA, any damage & anything which needs restoration as well as to monitor harmful activities.  Composed of fishermen, divers, boat owners, anglers, scientists & members of the various local communities, they use a combination of survey methodologies (including film footage, scientific reports, data gathering, etc), focussing on maerl in particular (as that species has legal protection).  Their data is made freely available & has already helped to ensure better protection (via a no-dredge agreement) for the MPA.  Established in 2014, the coalition has now out-grown the capacity of its key volunteers to lead, hence this grant towards the costs of a project officer – marine conservation.  The plan is to look for someone with a marine science background & use the year of additional capacity to apply for Hope Spot recognition & to foster links with universities to build further research partnerships for longer term benefit for the MPA.