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Cabinet Secretary for Tourism views plans for a National Marine Centre for Scotland

 Fiona Hyslop at the Seabird Centre (c) Tony Marsh (1)

On Thursday 11th May, the Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, Fiona Hyslop, visited the Scottish Seabird Centre to hear about plans to create a National Marine Centre for Scotland.

The 5 million project will build on the success of the award-winning Seabird Centre to create an exciting new attraction that will explore marine life above and below the waves, including seabirds. Working with partners throughout Scotland, it will provide a national hub to increase appreciation and understanding of Scotland’s amazing marine environment and communicate ground-breaking marine research taking place nationwide.

The new Centre will provide a platform to promote understanding and appreciation of Scotland’s internationally significant marine biodiversity with new, sustainable tourism opportunities, providing a gateway to Scotland’s outstanding coasts and seas as well as the increasing number of wildlife tourist attractions.

 The completion date for the project is planned to tie in with Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters in 2020.

 Tourism Secretary, Fiona Hyslop, said: “It has been interesting hearing about the Seabird Centre’s plan for a Marine Centre.

 “Our coasts and marine wildlife are an important part of our economy and our offer to tourists, upon which many livelihoods depend, right across Scotland.”

 Tom Brock OBE, Chief Executive of the Scottish Seabird Centre, said: “We were delighted to welcome Fiona Hyslop to see our exciting plans for the future. The National Marine Centre will offer a fantastic opportunity for people to discover Scotland’s amazing marine world and find out more about life above and below the waves.

 “Scotland’s seas and their wildlife are of international importance. We are keen that people understand and care about our very special marine environment and wildlife, ensuring that future generations can also enjoy and appreciate them. The Centre will operate at a Scotland-wide level via partnerships, collaborative research and tourism opportunities.

 “Our sights are set on a 2020 opening, with the opportunity to provide a flagship focus for Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters, and helping to position Scotland as a world-class marine tourism destination.”

 In addition to the new visitor attraction, the project will create a new education centre for visiting school groups as well as providing outreach and online educational resources.

 Simpson and Brown, the original Seabird Centre architects, who specialise in conservation projects, creative adaption of existing buildings and the design of environmentally-sound initiatives, have been working closely with multi award-winning exhibition designers Event Communications to develop the plans. A dedicated advisory group, led by Professor John Baxter, comprising scientists, researchers and practitioners, are providing input on fascinating marine-related content for the exhibitions and activities.

 Plans were shared with the public throughout April: following this consultation, revised plans will be shared at in the next few weeks. The National Marine Centre is a working title.

 The Scottish Seabird Centre has been awarded development funding of £290,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to progress plans. HLF has also given its initial support for a £3.5million bid for the project. A further £2million must be secured through fundraising.


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