A consultation launched by the UK’s Marine Management Organisation has been welcomed by the Marine Conservation Society.
The MMO has launched the consultation to explore whether bottom towed fishing activity should be prohibited in four Marine Protected Areas where there is evidence they harm wildlife or damage habitats.
Earlier this year the Marine Conservation Society released its Marine unProtected Areas report which found that bottom towed fishing gear was being used in almost all of the UK’s protected areas designated specifically to safeguard the seabed. As a result, the charity called for a ban on bottom trawling in these areas intended to protect the seabed. The consultation is a positive step in the right direction.
The charity’s report found that bottom trawl and dredge vessels spent at least 89,894 hours fishing the seabed inside Marine Protected Areas between 2015 and 2018.
Banning the bottom trawling of these protected seabeds would not only be positive for restoration efforts, but would be climate smart. Not only does bottom trawling damage vital underwater habitats but it also churns up the seafloor, releasing carbon into the ocean and, potentially, the atmosphere. It’s estimated that carbon emissions released by bottom trawling across the UK continental shelf between 2016 and 2040 could cost up to £9 billion to mitigate in other areas of the economy.
One of the four sites being considered is Dogger Bank, off the east of England, which is 12,300 km square of seabed – half the size of Wales. The Dogger Bank Marine Protected Area has the capacity to store the most carbon of all UK Marine Protected Areas– equivalent to 31,000 return flights from London to Sydney. Banning bottom trawling in this area alone would have a huge impact on wildlife recovery and the limiting of carbon emissions.
Dr Jean-Luc Solandt, Principle Specialist in Marine Protected Areas at the Marine Conservation Society said: “You’d think that Marine Protected Areas are, in fact, protected. However, just 5% currently ban bottom trawling, which has been shown time and again to damage the fragile sea floor. Whilst in the past the UK have had to get full agreement from other EU member states for bans on fishing, now we can act independently with the powers provided by the Fisheries Act.
“This announcement – whilst only for 4 of a possible 74 areas of protection – is an encouraging start. After years of heavily degrading our seas are we finally starting to see measures that can provide the green shoots of recovery?”
Within five years of protection from bottom trawling, animals in three UK and Isle of Man Marine Protected Areas were found to be larger and more diverse. When areas of sea around the world were fully protected, biodiversity was found to increase by an average of 21%. Alongside flora and fauna bouncing back, carbon stores are left undisturbed and are able to build back up, as new life emerges on the seabed.
For more information about the work of the Marine Conservation Society visit their website by clicking here.
The BiG Scuba Podcast… with Julianne Zielfle
Ian and Gemma chat about what they have been up to and we hear from a caller on The BiG Scuba Bat Phone. Our guest is Julianne Zielfle. Julianne became a certified diver in 1985 and she is an award-winning speaker, photographer and media professional. She first appeared in dive magazines in the late 1980s when she met Stephen Frink. She worked on Cousteau’s Campaign on Rights of Future Generations in 1994. She co-chaired the Hans Hass Film Festival and was co-creator of the Dive Industry Awards Gala in 2000. She has been helping schools in the South Pacific since 1992 and teaches in her local school district. In 1999, she was recognized by D.A.N. with the Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Award.
You can follow Julianne Zielfle on Facebook here.
Find more podcast episodes and information at www.thebigscuba.com and on most social platforms @thebigscuba
Jeff chats to… Marine Biologist and Underwater Videographer Jake Davies (Watch Video)
In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-Large, chats to Jake Davies, Marine Biologist, HSE Professional scuba diver, underwater videographer (using videos and 360 clips for VR) and CAA licensed drone pilot.
Jake grew up on Pen Llŷn, North Wales and coming from a maritime family meant that from a young age the underwater world and marine life have played a major role in his life. His interest in marine life and the sea led to him studying Marine Biology at Bangor University where he was successful in obtaining a year in industry with the Intertidal & Coastal team at Natural Resources Wales.
In 2017 Jake was successfully awarded a Sea-Changers Grant to run ‘Dive Into Monitoring: Seagrass’ surveys with SeaSearch North Wales. The surveys aimed to gather updated information on the Seagrass bed in Porthdinllaen with volunteer divers and local dive clubs.
As a media diver, Jake has worked as part of the dive team (Marine Ecosol) filming for BBC Wales Hidden Wales with Will Millard (Lazerbeam Productions & Folk Films).
Footage which Jake has filmed off the Welsh Coast, as well as the Canary Islands, has been featured for a variety of BBC programmes including an episode of Countryfile where he was interviewed about the Seagrass in Porthdinllaen, Wales along with the rest of the Project Seagrass team. He is also a blogger and contributor to Scubaverse @JDScuba, and a co-director of Under Water Wales @dandwrcymru.
As well as being a HSE Scuba Diver Jake is also employed as the Project Coordinator for Angel Shark Project: Wales. He is also a Project Leader on a Save Our Seas Foundation Project.
Through sharing underwater videos and photos of amazing and unique wildlife/habitats that are found beneath the waves along the Welsh Coast as well as abroad Jake hopes to inspire people to go beneath the waves and making the underwater world more accessible for all.
Find out more about Jake and his work at: https://jakeddavies1996.wixsite.com/jdscuba
Rather listen to a podcast? Listen to the audio HERE on the new Scubaverse podcast channel at Anchor FM.
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Explore the amazing triangle of Red Sea Reefs - The Brothers, Daedalus and Elphinstone on board the brand new liveaboard Big Blue. With an option to add on a week at Roots Red Sea before or after.
Strong currents and deep blue water are the catalysts that bring the pelagic species flocking to these reefs. The reefs themselves provide exquisite homes for a multitude of marine life. The wafting soft corals are adorned with thousands of colourful fish. The gorgonian fans and hard corals provide magnificent back drops, all being patrolled by the reef’s predatory species.
£1475 per person based on double occupancy. Soft all inclusive board basis, buffet meals with snacks, tea and coffee always available. Add a week on at Roots Red Sea Resort before or after the liveaboard for just £725pp. Flights and transfers are included. See our brochure linked above for the full itinerary.
This trip will be hosted by The Scuba Place. Come Dive with Us!
Call 020 3515 9955 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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