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24 March, 2021

Funding for community marine surveys

Funding for community marine surveys: A rocky reef habitat, Outer Hebrides ©George Stoyle/NatureScot

A new fund has been launched to help communities and local groups get involved in monitoring Scotland’s seabed and coastlines.

The Community Marine Monitoring Equipment Fund is offering support to up to ten groups to buy equipment to record and monitor their local marine life.

The aim of the project is to enable communities and local groups to gain the skills, experience and knowledge to participate in biodiversity surveys in Scotland, helping to improve our knowledge of marine species and habitats.

Individual grants of up to £1,500 will be offered for entry level equipment such as ID guides, quadrats and GoPros. Larger grants up to £3,000 are available for joint applications between two or more groups.

Applications should have an emphasis on enabling community and/or youth engagement in marine monitoring.

The fund supports the publication last year of the Community-led Marine Biodiversity Monitoring Handbook – Scotland’s first “how to” guide including comprehensive information and resources for planning and carrying out marine surveys and monitoring.

NatureScot project officer Madlaina Michelotti said: “Communities around our coasts tell us they want to get more involved with their local shores and waters, but we know that access to the right equipment and resources can sometimes be a barrier.

“This new fund, launching in Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters, is an exciting opportunity for communities and local groups to survey their local marine and coastal habitats in a fun and collaborative way.

“With spring underway and an easing of coronavirus restrictions on the horizon, we hope that, together with the handbook and online training, the fund can support more people to get out and about monitoring our seas and shorelines as soon as it is safe to do so.”

The project is a partnership between NatureScot, Fauna & Flora International (FFI), communities, local groups and individuals, with funding support from the William Grant Foundation.

Fauna & Flora International’s Marine Project Officer Rebecca Plant said: “Coastal communities across Scotland are well-placed to harness solutions to ensure healthy, well-managed seas, and many communities are looking to play a greater role in decisions around local and national marine management.

“The collection of marine data through surveying and monitoring is a key process underpinning decision-making, however there are barriers to community involvement. 

“We hope that the collaborative Community Marine Biodiversity Monitoring Project will build participation in community-led marine data collection via the Equipment Fund and the Monitoring Handbook, empowering communities to play their part in the management of their local waters.”

Nick Addington, Chief Executive of the William Grant Foundation, said: “We’ve seen evidence of how effective modern survey technology is in the hands of community volunteers. We’re pleased to be supporting this fund to give more communities the chance to contribute to knowledge about their local coasts and waters.”


Contact information

NatureScot Media
0131 316 2655

Notes to editors

More information about the fund is available here: 

Fauna & Flora International’s (FFI) mission is to conserve threatened species and ecosystems, choosing solutions that are sustainable, based on sound science, and account for human needs. FFI’s approach is to work with in-country organisations - from local community groups and NGOs to small and large businesses and government agencies - believing that conservation impact is best achieved through the involvement of those affected by the decisions made. FFI’s Marine Community Support project launched in Scotland in 2014, in collaboration with the Community of Arran Seabed Trust (COAST), to provide direct support to active communities along Scotland’s coast. By enabling coastal community groups across Scotland to undertake positive action, and to work together to influence wider policy, FFI’s work harnesses social action and contributes to safeguarding and restoring Scotland’s precious marine environment.

The William Grant Foundation is a non-profit association established to support charitable causes in Scotland. Its work is funded by William Grant & Sons Ltd. For more information see the Foundation’s website, or contact

NatureScot is Scotland's nature agency. We work to enhance our natural environment in Scotland and inspire everyone to care more about it. Our priority is a nature-rich future for Scotland and an effective response to the climate emergency. For more information, visit our website at or follow us on Twitter at

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A rocky reef habitat, Outer Hebrides ©George Stoyle/NatureScot

A rocky reef habitat, Outer Hebrides ©George Stoyle/NatureScot

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