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The Marine Reserve

Map of the Berwickshire Marine Reserve and surrounding area

Located between the historic fishing towns of Eyemouth and St Abbs, the Berwickshire Marine Reserve was established by the local community to protect the habitats and species found here and to ensure that all users are responsible in their activities.

The Berwickshire Marine Reserve (BMR) is a registered charity and is Scotland’s only voluntary Marine Reserve. The charity has three main aims in order to make sure the coastal waters are protected and remain so for years to come. They are to:

1) Conserve the biodiversity of the coastal waters 

2) Raise awareness of the marine environment through education and research 

3) Promote responsible recreational use alongside a sustainable fishery to the mutual benefit of all

The coastal waters of Berwickshire are home to a remarkable and truly unique mix of marine life not found elsewhere in the UK. Grey Seals, Bottlenose Dolphins and Minke Whales can all be seen here, and below the waters magnificent kelp forests are home to vibrant and charismatic marine creatures such as Sea Slugs and territorial fish.


Established in 1984 and launched David Bellamy OBE, the Berwickshire Marine Reserve remains the first and only Voluntary Marine Reserve in Scotland.

The Berwickshire Marine Reserve was established on the 18th of August 1984 and was set up by local stakeholders and relevant organisations to help manage and conserve the marine environment.

It was one of the first voluntary marine reserves to be set up in the UK and remains the only voluntary marine reserve in Scotland. The Reserve encompasses 8km of the Berwickshire coastline, and extends out to the 50 metre depth contour – covering a marine area of 10.3km2.

David Bellamy at the opening of the Berwickshire Marine Reserve
David Bellamy jumping off the harbour wall at St Abbs Harbour at the opening of the Berwickshire Marine Reserve

Our Strategy

Shorediver of Dive St Abbs

The organisation has recently updated its strategy to reflect its changing strategic environment and shift in leadership. The challenges presented by climate change have become very evident and are in the foreground of BMR’s strategy. Furthermore, the need to
align itself with the conservation priorities and policies of the Scottish Government has become evident. Finally, the trustees have recognised that BMR must be more ambitious in its approach if it is to continue to have a meaningful impact on the conservation of the Berwickshire coastline.


This strategy sets out the strategic direction and priorities of the organisation.​

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