Clyde Confederate paddle steamer wreck protected

Model of the Iona 1.
 PICTURE: CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection

Model of the Iona 1. PICTURE: CSG CIC Glasgow Museums Collection

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The locations of Scotland’s two new marine protection areas (MPAs) have been revealed as being around the Fair Isle and the Firth of Clyde.

The Firth of Forth site,- - designated a historic MPA, will allow the preservation of a 19th century Clyde-built paddle steamer, the Iona 1, built in 1862 for the American Civil War, but which sank following a collision.

The vessel had been used as a passenger ferry sailing between Glasgow and the Highlands before being bought by Confederate agents and was intended to be to run the blockade of Southern ports during the American Civil War.

However, the newly-refurbished vessel sank after colliding with another ship in the Clyde, near Gourock in 1862. She is one of very few surviving paddle steamer wrecks.

The Fair Isle site, a demonstration and research MPA, could create jobs by boosting ecotourism as well as protecting seabirds and promoting research and education.

Roseanna Cunningham, Environment Secretary, unveiling the locations of the new sites, said: “I am pleased to confirm the designation of these new Marine Protection Areas and I would like to thank all those who contributed to the consultation.

“Scotland’s seas have played and continue to play a valuable cultural and economic roles. Not only are they fundamental to our way of life, they are habitats for a huge diversity of marine and wildlife.

“It is our duty to protect these rich areas and historical sites while ensuring they benefit local communities. These MPAs will help protect and enhance our marine environment so it remains a prized asset for future generations.”

Elizabeth McCrone, head of designations for Historic Environment Scotland, said: “Designation brings with it powers to ensure that any proposed change to the site can be considered carefully and therefore allow it to be enjoyed by future generations.

“We would like to thank all those who took part in the public consultation exercise. Their input was invaluable to the wreck being designated as a site of national importance.

There are currently 30 nature conservation MPAs and seven Historic MPAs in Scottish waters, covering approximately 20 per cent of the seas.

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