Solway Firth future discussed

The future of the Solway Firth has been discussed at a conference in Dumfries. Topics on the agenda include the impact non-native species have on the estuary and how a Heritage Lottery grant should be spent.

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Future of Solway Firth discussed

The Solway Coasts Credit: ITV Border

Action is being taken to sort out the growing problem of invasive species that are threatening native wildlife in the Solway. A species of shelfish called the Pacific Oyster has been found in several locations. It is intensively farmed along the coast of Scotland and is thought to have escaped.

An area of the Solway Coast Credit: ITV Border

There is also damaging non-native plants including wireweed and cordgrass.New legislation has come into effect this year which gives authorities on both sides of the Solway the power to prosecute fishermen or anyone else who does not comply with strict bio-security rules.

At a conference held by The Solway Firth Partnership, bio-diversity expert Sarah Brown from the Firth of Cylde Forum said that climate change and invasive species were the two major threats to Scotland's native marine environment.

Fishermen Credit: ITV Border

On top of new legislation, the Solway's new Coastal Ranger Nic Coombey is asking landowners to look out for the Pacific Oyster and any examples will be noted and destroyed. The Pacific Oyster is larger than native varieties and the risk is that they could desimate local beds.

The confrence at Easterbrook Hall in Dumfries also heard from the chairman of the Solway Firth Partnership, Gordan Mann. The partnership has responsibility for both the English and Scottish sides of the Solway.

Walker on the beach along the Solway Coast Credit: ITV Border

Mr Mann said the biggest challenge for businesses operating around the Solway was to co-ordinate and co-operate more in the future.

Planning law is different on both sides of the border so it is vital that organisations with an interest in the Solway maintain open communication, he added.


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