Project Baseline Loch Long was established by a small group of dedicated divers in the relatively remote West Coast of Scotland. After setting up their initial visibility monitoring station in Loch Long the team decided to setup an annual project weekend to get more local divers involved and to raise awareness of the human impact on the local marine environment. The initial weekends were a real success and the visibility generated by the event created a number of collaboration opportunities that would not have been possible without the project weekends.

On hearing about the Project Baseline scholarship the small Scotland based team applied and were accepted for a share of the scholarship money. Simply being accepted for the scholarship was a huge benefit to the team and subsequent project weekends were hugely popular, with team members joining from as far afield as Northern Europe. With more capable divers joining the weekends than before Project Baseline Loch Long was able to develop its goals and achieve more than previously anticipated. During last years event the teams collected flora and fauna survey data for Seasearch, a citizen science initiative of the Marine Conservation Society.

This survey data identified that a rare species of muscle (the Horse Muscle) is present in Loch Long, something that will continue to be monitored during future project events. Teams also collected sediment samples for the most recent collaboration with Dive for Antibiotics. This is a post graduate team from Strathclyde University who are looking for sources of future antibiotics, in the marine environment. Finally, the team was able to conduct small scale cleanups at local sites and submit a number of survey reports to Ghost Fishing UK. This was a fantastic achievement for a short 2 day project. You can see how we got in 2019 by watching our documentary recently released on GUETV.

The scholarship money received by the team was used to help finance some survey / media equipment. An action camera and video lights were purchased to help record decent underwater survey footage for review post dive, and to help produce valuable media material. This media is extremely useful for raising awareness of the project to help build future collaborations. The media is also extremely useful for raising awareness of the human impact on the marine environment in the local area, something that might help reduce this impact in the future.

Thanks in no small part to the Project Baseline scholarship, PBLL is looking forward to another exciting year of project work. With more divers than ever before attending the project weekend in 2020 we hope to achieve even more than last year. This year we have 30 divers from the UK and Europe joining us for project work across the west coast of Scotland, between Oban in the north and The Clyde in the South. We have 3 boats supporting the project, as well as experts from Seasearch and the Dive for Antibiotics initiative. Finally, we are very excited to host Project Baseline’s very own Todd Kincaid in 2020 – look out for the mini-documentary towards the end of the year.

You can learn more about Project Baseline Loch Long by visiting their Facebook Page.