Community-led Monitoring

Cover Image: Community Diver © COAST

Many CCN member groups are actively involved in the collection of data from their local inshore areas. Their activities and interests are varied, from feeding into Marine Protected Area (MPA) monitoring and creating local citizen science initiatives, to producing underwater films.

CCN is currently partnering in a joint initiative with Fauna & Flora International (FFI) and NatureScot (formerly SNH), which brings together interested communities and individuals around Scotland’s coasts to better enable and support community-led marine monitoring.

The aims of this initiative are to encourage broader awareness and engagement of communities in biodiversity monitoring and to support more informed and improved conservation policy and management decisions by the Scottish Government.

Support is available to CCN members via CCN’s Community Support Fund and NatureScot’s Community Equipment Fund.

Community-led Monitoring

The joint CCN, FFI and NatureScot Community-led Monitoring initiative aims to increase community involvement in marine data collection and monitoring by addressing barriers to participation, which were identified in a 2017 participatory workshop.

FFI and NatureScot facilitated a hands-on demonstration event to trial monitoring equipment and methodologies in June 2019, and NatureScot provides support to groups for the purchase of underwater survey equipment through the Community Equipment Fund, launched in August 2019. Scotland’s first “how to” guide, the Community-led Marine Monitoring Handbook was published in June 2020 alongside a virtual training tool. If you’d like to get involved with the project, contact NS.

MSc Student Projects

In 2019, CCN were invited to take part in the annual NatureScot/Marine Alliance for Science and Technology for Scotland (MASTS) MSc student project system, which enables community groups to be involved in this academic process for the first time. Two community-based research projects subsequently took place in spring 2019, focussing on maerl and seagrass beds. NatureScot provided co-funding to cover student costs and input technical project support, with community representatives co-supervising the projects.

In 2020, CCN worked virtually with students on topics like Ecosystem Based Management of MPAs, community involvement in marine management and aquaculture regulatory frameworks. In 2021, CCN will again be working with MSc level students to support some interesting and vital research.