When Conservation Produces Division

By Bernie Bell

Having read this item in TON   https://theorkneynews.scot/2022/02/16/scapa-flow-and-north-orkney-designated-marine-special-protection-areas/, someone sent me an email telling of his own experience of the kind of intimidation which conservationists can encounter when faced with the Money Men of this world, and referring to the experiences of a conservation scientist who tried to raise the  alarm about seabird deaths in the Falklands Islands and was subjected to all kinds of harassment, including false arrests and threats of imprisonment and deportation.

Here are  links to the relevant stories ……..


My correspondent is currently reading Mike Bingham’s book “The Falklands Regime”  (Authorhouse, 2005)  which tells the story of what happened to wildlife in the Falkland Islands and what happened to him when he was hired to investigate this, which would be unbelievable were it not that conservationists have repeatedly encountered this kind of intimidation all over the world.

Dr. Bingham has since had court judgments in his favour, and my correspondent feels that a case might be made for highlighting his story and saying, “This is not what we want to happen here.”

To be fair, I don’t see this kind of intimidation happening here in Orkney!   But I agreed that it might be worth mentioning this kind of issue, considering the secrecy which surrounds so much of OIC’s decision making.

As my correspondent said – just a thought.

3 replies »

  1. I agree with your comments but am not so sanguine that it doesn’t apply here. I still remember
    Incidents in the seventies when effigies of conservationists were left hanging from roadsigns
    and feel that a deep current of distrust still persists which polarises debate and cooperation.

    Co-incidentally, my issue of the The Scottish Coastal Communities Network Newsletter arrived today and you may care to have a peek (link below). As far as I know only one (1)Orkney community based group belongs- The Skate Trust- which does excellent work but there should be more, far more. It’s ironic that an Orkney
    Hatchery has supplied Oyster spat to community groups up and down the west coast
    but none here!

    I recognised your picture. It’s an old nineteenth century gun emplacement near Skaildaquoy Point, Holm which was “manned” by a local militia,
    the Holm volunteers. Although its on a coastal path there are sadly no signs to say anything of its purpose and history.



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