Green marine environment fund distributes £3.8m

Projects to protect and restore Scotland’s coasts and seas have received more than £3.8 million from a vital marine fund over the last three years.

A total of 54 projects across the country have so far benefited from funding through the Scottish Marine Environmental Enhancement Fund (SMEEF).

More than £4m is also already pledged from private companies to support more projects over the coming years.

Sarah Brown, SMEEF Project Manager, said, “Our coasts and seas are absolutely essential to tackle the nature and climate change crises. It’s wonderful to have so many private companies donate to help our rich marine environment recover. All of the amazing projects we’ve funded are using cutting-edge technology to discover the best ways to ensure our marine habitats and the species they support are healthy, resilient and productive for future generations.”

Examples of the projects include the Scottish Association for Marine Science, which was awarded £33,176 to identify abandoned or lost creels using sonar, work which aims to reduce entanglement, a major risk for marine animals. Another project, by Edinburgh Napier University, discovered a new spawning ground for herring using passive acoustic monitoring devices. Other projects are learning more about the condition of and improving habitat for species such as seals, seabirds, native oysters, flapper skates, horse mussels and marine mammals. Projects include work in the Outer Hebrides, West Highland, Argyll, Clyde, Solway, Forth and Tay, Orkney and Shetland.

SMEEF is unique in that it enables sectors that use Scottish waters, such as renewable energy, aquaculture, fishing and shipping, to voluntarily contribute to the health and biodiversity of Scotland’s seas by creating a grant pot. This is then distributed to marine nature enhancement projects across the country.

Sarah adds, “We know there are many more great projects out there that we would love to support – but we need more funds if we are going to scale up our efforts to recover nature in our seas. Please get in touch if you’d like to help!”

SMEEF is hosted by NatureScot, and managed jointly with core funders, Scottish Government Marine Directorate and Crown Estate Scotland. All donations to the fund are assessed by an Ethical Contributions Board and decisions on which projects to fund are made by a Grants Panel. Both the Ethical Contributions Board and the Grants Panel have independent chairs and include input from Scottish Environment LINK.


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