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CAOLAS (Community Association of Lochs and Sounds) hosted an evening talk about the marine surveys carried out over the summer on the shores of Loch Sunart at the Ardnamurchan Natural History visitor centre last week, followed by its first AGM since becoming a registered charity.
Marine biologist Mark Woombs presented a slideshow of amazing photographs of the plants and animals recorded living in and around the loch, peppered with scientific facts and amusing anecdotes.
The workshops and surveys carried out over the summer were among the various projects that CAOLAS is involved with, including a programme of events to educate and inform locals and visitors about the marine environment and how we can all play a part in protecting it.
A small team of volunteers form the committee of CAOLAS and they are always looking out for anyone with local knowledge and skills or just a passion and interest for marine environments to join.
In a week when Sir David Attenborough has been in the media talking about the kelp forests off the south coast of the UK, CAOLAS is keen to raise awareness of the threats to our own coastal areas closer to home.
Loch Sunart and the Sound of Mull are Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and also home to the Argyll coast and islands Mission Blue Hope Spot and of great interest to marine experts, environmentalists and scientists.
CAOLAS is keen to ensure everyone understands the importance of these areas through getting people involved through citizen science programmes, working with local schools and getting more people actively involved either with surveying, monitoring suspicious activity (illegal fishing) and participating in campaigns and public consultations about the use of the seas and lochs around us.
The talk covered ideas about what projects CAOLAS may seek funding and support for next and included aims such as snorkelling and diving to explore, survey and record life deeper in the lochs and sounds, maybe even enlisting the use of a remote operated vehicle. These hi-tech aspirations also work alongside activities such as beach cleaning.
If you are interested in the work of CAOLAS or in becoming a member or feel you may have skills to offer as a trustee, check out the Facebook page
https://www.facebook.com/marinecommunitygroup/ or get in touch by email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.