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“We’re all ears”, say campaigners against Falmouth dredging plans

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Licensing body remains silent despite thousands calling for end to  Falmouth dredge saga

Over 6550 letters have been sent as part of a campaign to save a unique area for marine wildlife around Falmouth. So far these remain unanswered. Today, concerned locals joined leading environmental charities the Marine Conservation Society and Friends of the Earth to meet with the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) in Hayle to deliver copies of these letters in person. They were there to remind the licensing body of the ever-growing level of public concern surrounding plans to dredge in the Fal and Helford Special Area of Conservation and to urge it to respond by doing all it can to safeguard this special underwater beauty-spot.

The Marine Conservation Society and Friends of the Earth teamed up to launch the #SaveFalBay campaign back in September. At that time it was revealed that the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) was conducting a scientific assessment to inform “pre-application advice” they were due to provide the Falmouth Harbour Commissioners (FHC). They had been asked to give the FHC advice regarding the Commissioners’ continued hopes to gouge a channel through the Fal and Helford Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

Over the last few months, concerned individuals have written to the Marine Management Organisation to urge them to consider new evidence produced by local scientist Dr Miles Hoskin during their assessment. This report highlights critical flaws in the Falmouth Harbour Commissioners’ plans. Despite several months passing since the launch of the campaign, these letters have not yet been met with a public response by the Marine Management Organisation, and the licensing body has remained silent as to whether they are taking Dr Hoskin’s peer-reviewed report into account at this time.

Emily Williams, MCS Campaign Officer for the Marine Conservation Society said “the Harbour Commissioners’ hopes to dredge in the Carrick Roads section of this Special Area of Conservation has been a dark cloud hanging over Falmouth and those who desperately care for our seas for years. As a student in Falmouth during the period when the port first applied to undertake these activities, I remember the level of concern this generated amongst the local community. Seven years on, isn’t it about time the MMO acknowledged that these plans are incompatible with the protection of this precious site? The Fal and Helford SAC is home to absolutely incredible animals and plants that cannot be replaced.”

The Fal and Helford Special Area of Conservation is particularly important as it contains maerl, a magnificent rocky seaweed habitat, which looks similar to pink coral. Maerl takes thousands of years to grow and is extremely important for the young fish and shellfish which fishers depend on.  Dr Miles Hoskin’s research makes it clear that if these plans were to go ahead, live maerl would be destroyed.

www.mcsuk.org

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Messe Düsseldorf cancels boot 2021 due to ongoing pandemic

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Messe Düsseldorf has announced it has cancelled boot Düsseldorf for 2021. One of the world’s top trade shows for the scuba diving and watersports industry is another casualty of the ongoing pandemic and its associated worldwide lockdown measures.  

In the current climate the planned date in April is no longer possible, says Wolfram N. Diener, CEO of Messe Düsseldorf:

“The continuing high level of infection and the fact that the end of the lockdown is not foreseeable for the time being make a resumption of trade fair operations at the end of April appear increasingly unrealistic. We have reassessed the situation with our partners and jointly decided to cancel boot 2021 early. Our priority is the health and planning security of our exhibitors, visitors and service providers. All activities will now be focused on the successful staging of boot 2022.”

The aim, he said, is to return to the concept of boot Düsseldorf both as an event for all water sports enthusiasts and as a business and networking platform for the international trade audience. For 2022, he added, work is also underway on a hybrid trade fair experience that will, among other things, enable digital participation in seminars and events at boot Düsseldorf.

The next boot is now due to open its doors from 22 to 30 January 2022, with registration starting in May this year.

The announcement comes hot on the heels of the postponement of this Spring’s UK Dive Show 2021 which is now planned to take place at the NEC in Birmingham on 30th and 31st October 2021. 

For any enquiries you can contact the boot Düsseldorf team here. 

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Marine Life & Conservation

Dive Guides invited to apply for the Green Fins Dive Guide Scholarship

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Reef-World’s campaign is helping dive guides in need receive Green Fins environmental certification

The Reef-World Foundation – international coordinator of the UN Environment Programme’s Green Fins initiative – is calling for dive guides to submit their application for the Green Fins Dive Guide Scholarship.

As a result of the Scholarship campaign, dive guides working around the world – including Brazil, the Philippines, Egypt, Colombia, South Africa, Indonesia and Turkey – have received their certificate proving their status as a Green Fins certified dive guide. Yet, thanks to funding from Reef-World’s partner Paralenz, 149 more scuba diving guides will be able to receive their Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course environmental certification.

Dive guides who meet the criteria (outlined below) can apply for the scholarship at any time through the Green Fins website. To be eligible for the scholarship, guides must:

  • have completed and passed all modules of the Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course
  • be able to demonstrate they or their employer are not financially able to purchase the certificate
  • be a national of a country which receives official development assistance from the Development Assistance Committee (DAC) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The Scholarship was created in response to feedback from dive guides who had passed the Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course and were keen to download and display their personalised electronic certificate but were not financially able to cover the associated cost (£19 / $25 USD). The personalised electronic certificate can be displayed to entice eco-minded guests by informing them the guide has received this vital environmental certification and is aware of how to reduce the negative environmental impacts associated with diving.

Diving related damage to sensitive marine ecosystems, including coral reefs, is becoming an increasingly significant issue. This damage makes them less likely to survive other local and wider stressors, such as overfishing or run-off from land containing pollutants and plastic debris as well as the effects of climate change, such as rising sea temperatures. The Green Fins Dive Guide e-Course, created with the support of Professional SCUBA Schools International (PSS) and running on their innovative EVO e-learning platform, teaches dive professionals how to prevent diving-related damage to coral reefs by following the highest environmental standards and better managing their guests to prevent damage to the reef.

Sam Craven, Programmes Manager at The Reef-World Foundation, said: “We’re proud to be offering dive guides around the world the opportunity to become Green Fins certified; no matter their background. Both the e-Course and the Scholarship have been a great success so far and we’re delighted to see so many dive professionals demonstrating their commitment to sustainable tourism by taking the course. We urge dive guides who haven’t yet taken the course to consider taking this step and welcome Scholarship applications from anyone who meets the criteria. Together, we can protect coral reefs through sustainable diving and we’d love as many dive guides as possible to join us.”


Dive guides who want to be considered for scholarship can visit www.greenfins.net/green-fins-dive-guide-scholarship-applications to apply.

To donate to the Green Fins Dive Guide Scholarship Fund, please visit www.greenfins.net/appeal/sponsor-a-dive-guide.

Supporters who are interested in helping additional dive guides receive their certifications can also donate to Sponsor a Dive Guide.

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