Berwickshire Marine Reserve

The Berwickshire Marine Reserve (BMR) is the new name for the St Abbs & Eyemouth Voluntary Marine Reserve, a Scottish Registered Charity launched in 1984 by David Bellamy. It was established by local communities and interested parties to conserve and enhance the biodiversity and sustainability of the local coastal waters, to raise awareness of the marine environment through education, and to promote responsible recreational use alongside a sustainable fishery to the mutual benefit of all. The BMR forms part of a larger statutory static gear reserve and is considered a top UK scuba diving destination with its clear waters and abundance and diversity of marine life.

When the Voluntary Marine Reserve was established in 1984, it was one of the first marine reserves in the UK and provided a lead and an inspiration to other individuals and bodies committed to marine conservation. In recent years, the BMR has undergone a steep change after receiving funding from the European Community Scottish Borders LAG Leader Programme and Blue Marine Foundation, which has enabled detailed mapping of the BMR as a foundation for future research and monitoring. It has also facilitated the development of a ‘Virtual Visitor Centre’, using innovative interpretation to encourage sustainability, engagement and inclusivity. For 2020, we want to build on and expand these impressive foundations.

Within the Voluntary Marine Reserve (VMR), we have been collaborating on a number of joint research projects in partnership with the Blue Marine Foundation and the St. Abbs Marine Station in order to establish new baseline surveys of the mature fished populations of edible crab and European lobster in the VMR. The data collected from both projects will be combined to allow a full analysis of the population dynamics from juvenile to commercially viable adults within the VMR and the wider area. In addition, we run beach cleans as part of the Marine Conservation Society’s Great British Beach Cleans weekends, and we also collaborate with Sea the Change – a local community interest group in Berwickshire, who run a large Community Coastal Clean-Up event.

Conserve the biodiversity of the coastal waters, raise awareness of the marine environment through education and promote responsible recreational use alongside a sustainable fishery to the mutual benefit of all.

Sustain and where possible, enhance the habitats, communities and species within the BMR.

Work closely with local (and, if appropriate for local outcomes, national) marine, fishery, conservation and wildlife groups helping support their project plans and offering representation as and where possible.

Optimise the interpretation and education potential of the BMR to user groups and visitors.

Encourage informed and sympathetic recreational use.

Use the BMR to promote marine conservation and the need for sustainable use of the marine environment.