Scotland is defined by the sea. The crashing waves, the ragged cliffs, the glistening sands encircle the nation’s history, feed its culture, and help shape its psychology.
With a shoreline stretching some 11,000 kilometres, hundreds of islands scattered over vast reaches of ocean and 70% of the population living within ten kilometres of the coast, the sea could hardly be more vital. Yet, bizarrely, it has been virtually ignored by governments.
Activities on land have been planned, managed and controlled for centuries, but the sea has been left to look after itself. It has been dredged for huge quantities of fish, exploited for oil and gas and used as a toxic dumping ground, but it has never been the subject of a strategic plan by ministers.