St Abbs and Eyemouth Voluntary Marine Reserve

Scotland's first, and still its only, marine reserve, the St. Abbs and Eyemouth Voluntary Marine Reserve encompasses a small section of the North Sea off the coast of the Scottish Borders. Extending for up to a mile (1.8 km) offshore from Thrummie Carr to the west of St. Abb's Head in the north to Hairy Ness by Eyemouth in the south, the reserve includes Horsecastle Bay, Coldingham Bay, Starney Bay and Linkim Shore. The waters off the Berwickshire coast are renowned for their abundance and diversity of marine life, brought about by the mixing of cold Arctic currents with warmer currents from the south. Cold and warm water species can be seen together in the unusually clear water, which provides one of the most popular scuba diving locations in Britain. The reserve had no legal status, instead relying on goodwill and cooperation between the stakeholders.

Established as a registered charity, the reserve was launched on 18th August 1984 by environmentalist Professor David Bellamy (1933 - 2019). It is managed by a committee representing local and national bodies, including local fishermen, sub-aqua groups, community councils, conservation groups, the local authority, National Trust for Scotland, Marine Scotland, NatureScot and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency. The reserve covers 1030 ha (2545 acres) and extends out to a sea depth of 50m (164 feet). It aims to conserve the biodiversity of these coastal waters, to raise awareness of the marine environment through education and promote responsible recreational use, alongside a sustainable fishery.

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