Our projects

Berwickshire Marine Reserve Project

The waters off the coast of Berwickshire, in the southeast of Scotland, are some of the most biodiverse and productive in the UK. 

Located on the south-east coast of Scotland, Berwickshire’s waters are unique, with cold and warm water currents converging to provide a diversity of marine life rarely found elsewhere in the UK. Devonshire Cup corals share space alongside Arctic wolffish and pods of bottlenose dolphins, giving scientists an opportunity to monitor the effects of climate change within a marine protected area. This stretch of coastline supports one of the most productive crab and lobster fisheries in Scotland as well as providing some of the best diving and recreational fishing opportunities in the UK.

Unfortunately, the majority of the Marine Protected Area (MPA) in Berwickshire is open to bottom towed trawling and dredging with reports of unlawful fishing from trawlers being common. This is not unique to this coastline. Since 2015, there have been over 140 recorded incursions within Scottish MPAs, very few of these have resulted in prosecutions. Remarkably, only five per cent of Scotland’s inshore waters are protected from damaging bottom towed fishing gear.

Blue Marine is calling on the Scottish Government to protect its rich biodiversity for the benefit of all users. On the ground, we are working with fishing communities and other stakeholders to deliver sustainable models of fishing that work for people and nature.

Blue Marine is working with the community of Berwickshire to create a template for well protected and sustainably managed marine protected areas in Scotland.

Key goals

  • Sustainable low impact fisheries are championed within the MPA, with fishermen involved in decision making through a regional approach, providing increases in catch and returns at market.
  • Create a community-led marine protected area where activities are managed within sustainable limits and stakeholders are engaged in decision making, providing long-term benefits to local livelihoods and economy.
  • Research and management recommendations are submitted to Government to support protection throughout the whole MPA

Our Seas

Blue Marine is a member of the Our Seas coalition which is a growing coalition of one hundred and twenty marine businesses, Scottish NGOs, fishing associations and community groups calling for:

  • Urgent reinstatement of a limit on bottom towed fishing gear at least 3 miles from shore.
  • Prioritising fishing opportunity and financial aid for fisheries with low environmental impacts.
  • Urgent roll out of Vessel Monitoring Systems on all registered fishing vessels.


The coalition launched the campaign film ‘The Limit’ in February. The film is about restoring the threatened connections between people and the life in our sea. It explores the impacts of drastic declines in Scotland’s fish populations and the hidden damage to our seabed. How can we bring about an urgent and fair transition towards more sustainable fishing?

Blue Marine continue to support the promotion of the Inshore Limit petition, calling on the First Minister and Scottish Government to stop the chronic destruction of Scotland’s seabed by urgently reinstating a coastal limit on bottom-trawl and dredge fishing.

Please sign the petition and find out more information about the coalition here.




Key stats

112 reports of incursions into Scotland’s protected areas

1st voluntary reserve in Scotland

Over 45,000 nesting sea birds 

Related news

How to help

By working together, we can turn the tide on overfishing and the destruction of biodiversity. By supporting Blue Marine, you can help to create marine reserves around the world.


No matter how big or small, all donations are valuable to us.


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