The Scottish Forum Steering Group member, Scottish Wildlife Trust, recently launched their Oceans of Value project, based in Orkney. This aims to investigate two different approaches for valuing the marine environment – stakeholder valuation, and natural capital valuation. Led by Marine Planning Manager, Dr Sam Collin, the project has been carrying out interviews with various stakeholders in Orkney over the past year, as part of a Community Voice Method approach to identifying stakeholder valuations. A tender has just been advertised for the natural capital assessment component of the project, and is expected to be completed within six months of identifying a suitable contractor. Please follow this link if you are interested in finding out more. 

A number of Scottish Forum members have either direct, or indirect links, to the marine sector, or particular expertise in natural capital. With this in mind we recently asked our members if they would like to sit on an advisory group to provide expert advice on the chosen contractors proposal, project design, and final report. We were delighted by the response we received, and the advisory group will have representatives from the Scottish Government, the public sector, private sector consultancies and academia. We look forward to hosting meetings throughout the Oceans of Value project to benefit from their expertise, and will keep you updated about how the project develops.

In the longer term, we are also examining the possibility of building on the advisory group as the basis for a future marine sub-group, to look at and share information in this rapidly growing field. As one of our five strategic outcomes, the natural capital of Scotland's seas is of fundamental importance to the Scottish Forum. By achieving a greater understanding of the true social, economic and environmental value of our seas, we can inform decision-making processes to ensure better decisions are taken. This is an important approach that can help ensure healthy seas in the future, that provide sustainable food and energy, store carbon, support biodiversity and boost tourism.

If you are interested in finding out more about the Oceans of Value project please contact Rory McLeod, Project Officer for the Scottish Forum on Natural Capital at rmcleod@scottishwildlifetrust.org.uk