About the Network

The Coastal Communities Network (CCN) is a collaboration of locally-focused community groups (communities-of-place), guided by the belief that coastal communities across Scotland are well placed to harness long-term solutions to ensure healthy, well-managed seas.

Scotland’s dynamic and complex shoreline attests to richly biodiverse ecosystems below the waves. The species and habitats found in our inshore waters underpin the ecological integrity of marine habitats and the economic prosperity of nearby coastal communities. With the escalation of threats and impacts within our inshore waters, managing our seas for environmental and economic sustainability is no easy task, but one which we recognise should include all those who have a stake.

Working together, the aim of the CCN is to better connect coastal communities across Scotland in order to share community knowledge and expertise. The Network provides the means to establish a strong communication and support platform, which can help to develop the community voice within marine management and build community action on marine conservation in Scotland.

Not all coastal communities face the same issues, but where they do, we recognise that there is strength in communities being able to speak on these issues with a united voice. Inevitably, there will be cases where communities differ in their views, and here the CCN can celebrate and share our diversity and help build coastal community resilience.

The Coastal Communities Network is currently comprised of 19 community groups, located in coastal and island areas across Scotland, and these are the beating heart of the CCN. They are diverse in their interests and activities but united in their local focus on protecting their nearby waters.

Inherently, the CCN seeks to engage widely with all users of the marine environment. The Network has no political affiliation but is willing to engage with politicians’ and advocates across the political spectrum, who have an interest in protecting Scotland’s seas.

CCN Map Members

Vision and Aims

CCN has a vision for Scotland’s seas to be abundant in biodiversity and resilient to future changes, providing sustainable and diverse livelihoods to those living around them, in perpetuity.

To achieve this vision, members will work together within the CCN to:

Ensure the biodiversity of Scotland’s seas is protected and managed sensitively, and, where already damaged, promote its recovery, highlighting threats and providing solutions.

Preserve, enhance and develop our marine environment for the well-being of our communities, our natural environment and for wider public benefit, working toward best practices, which fit local needs.

Support environmentally sustainable socio-economic incomes for coastal communities and maximise sustainable opportunities for coastal/marine dependent livelihoods.

Reduce damaging practices within Scotland’s inshore waters (including fisheries known to result in long-term damage to marine habitats thus reducing their productivity and/or resilience), whilst promoting and supporting the sustainable use of our waters – including for demonstrably low-impact fisheries.

Maintain and enhance opportunities for existing and novel nature-based businesses which capitalise on and reinforce the maintenance of thriving and biodiverse natural environments, promoting local enterprises and local markets, and creating a better balance between commercial and environmental priorities.

Raise awareness and understanding of Scotland’s marine biodiversity via research, surveys and investigations of the local marine environment, for all generations.

Raise awareness of our marine cultural heritage, capturing and promoting the rich maritime history and culture of our coasts, ensuring they are preserved and celebrated for years to come.

Increase community representation in marine management, promoting place-based conservation voices in decision making processes, and enhancing the quality of the marine environment through community empowerment and local action.

Seek closer engagement with organisations and individuals whose actions will affect our shared marine environment, working collaboratively to build and maintain relationships between communities, fishers, marine industries, NGOs, and relevant authorities and institutions, to achieve our shared aims.

Find out more about CCN members and Friends and Supporters.