Connect with us
background

News

New eco-moorings project off Plymouth replacing damaging anchorage

Published

on

Princess Yachts Collaborate with Marine Conservation Society to Support National Marine Aquarium to Install Eco-Moorings to Protect Delicate Marine Ecosystem

Princess, together with the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) and the National Marine Aquarium (NMA) have replaced old moorings with new eco-friendly ones that have been shown to allow environmentally important seagrass beds to recover, after damage caused by traditional mooring methods.  The Princess funded project spans three years with ‘helical’ mooring installations in Cawsand Bay and Kingsand Bay, Plymouth.

The ‘helical’ moorings project is being funded by Plymouth-based Princess Yachts in a joint, three year venture with the Marine Conservation Society, and the National Marine Aquarium.

Seagrass meadows are a crucial part of the marine ecosystem – they stabilise seabeds, lock in CO2 more efficiently than rainforests, host larval and juvenile fish and seahorses, and are great breeding grounds for cuttlefish and sharks in UK seas. But they are extremely vulnerable when traditional moorings using chains that drag along the seabed through the seagrass are used.


The helical devices simply screw (like a large corkscrew) into the sandy seabed. They are 2m long with one or two large rotational blades (about 30cm across) that turn into the sediment. This locks the device into place. It then has a chain link that is lifted to the surface by small buoys to a larger mooring buoy. This means that the actual footprint on the seabed is only 40cm across therefore much smaller than that of a conventional mooring.

Dr Jean-Luc Solandt, MCS Principal Specialist Marine Protected Areas, says: “We’ve installed five ‘helical’ moorings that  are screwed into the seabed. These are then attached to a chain, called the NMA Stirling Eco Mooring, that rises up above the seabed with buoys attached along its length to a large surface mooring buoy which has a rope attached to it. The chain that rises to the surface from the seabed therefore never touches or scrapes around the seagrass bed itself, and will likely result in recovery of seagrass.

We believe we’ll be protecting something like 0.5km square of seagrass bed with our project in the first year. We hope to cover the entire bed within three years, if the project proves successful,” says Dr Solandt. “The seagrass bed is considered to currently be in ‘unfavourable condition’ by Natural England. If the project is successful we hope it will lead to other areas using this cheap and practical technology where there has been animosity between local conservationists and boat owners over calls for anchor bans. These eco options offer a potential solution to future stand-offs.”

Kiran Haslam, Marketing Director, Princess Yachts said “Three years ago we set in place an initiative in marine conservation, and every year we renew and strengthen our commitment to MCS.  The delicate seagrass eco system is now in need of our attention and Cawsand Bay lies at the mouth of the river Tamar, a stone’s throw from our home city of Plymouth. We’re proud to be able to support this pioneering initiative that will give the seagrass beds an opportunity to repair themselves.”

For more information about the Marine Conservation Society visit their website by clicking here.

News

PADI meets with Maldivian Ministry to confirm protection of sharks

Published

on

Over recent weeks, there has been speculation about the possibility of the Maldivian government lifting the ban on shark fishing in the country’s waters. PADI®, and the dive industry at large, were instrumental in establishing these protections over a decade ago.

With concern for the continued protection of sharks in the Maldives, the PADI organisation and Project AWARE®, along with 200 concerned local and international stakeholders opposing the lifting of the shark fishing ban, called on the government to continue to enforce the legal protections of sharks. PADI staff met with Maldivian Ministry of Fisheries, Marine Resources, and Agriculture Zaha Waheed to reinforce the position of the dive community and critical role sharks play in dive tourism.

In those meetings, Minister Waheed assured PADI that the Ministry of Fisheries, Marine Resources, and Agriculture has no intentions to lift the ban on shark fishing. She affirmed that they remain committed to sustainable and responsible management of fisheries and marine resources in the Maldives. On 20 April 2021, the Ministry of Fisheries, Marine Resources, and Agriculture released a statement asserting that “the Maldives does not intend to permit a targeted shark fishery in the Maldives.”

“Sharks are a dominant force in dive tourism in the Maldives. We congratulate the Maldives’s commitment to their ongoing protection,” says Drew Richardson, President and CEO of PADI Worldwide. “The Maldives continues to lead by example, among the most progressive countries on this critical issue.”

There are currently 17 shark sanctuaries in the world; the first established in Palau in 2009 and others in popular dive destinations including French Polynesia, Honduras, The Bahamas and several others in the Caribbean. The Maldives shark sanctuary was established in 2010 and covers 916,000 km2 (353,000 square miles).

Tourism accounts for an estimated 25 percent of Maldives’ GDP (according to 2014 figures), with diving and snorkeling being the most popular tourism activity. Prior to the formation of the Maldivian sanctuary, shark fishing was worth US$0.7 million to the Maldives’ economy, compared to US$2.3 million from shark tourism. In 2018, the shark sanctuary increased dive-trip demand in the Maldives by 15 percent, raising an additional US$6 million. Consumer research indicates that any re-opening of a Maldives shark fishery could potentially decrease dive tourism demand by over 50 percent, which could result in a loss of US$24 million.

Sharks are some of the most endangered species in the ocean, with recent research showing that the global number of oceanic sharks has declined by 71 percent. Over a third of shark and ray species are threatened, facing an increased threat of extinction, primarily due to overfishing.  There are an estimated 600,000 shark watchers globally spending $314 million per year and directly supporting 10,000 jobs. Research indicates these figures are expected to rise as global tourism returns to pre-pandemic levels.

As part of its commitment to ocean conservation, PADI will continue to stand up for sharks and advocate for their protection. For more information on responsible shark tourism, read Project AWARE’s Guide to Best Practices. To learn more about PADI’s efforts and how you can join the community of PADI Torchbearers working to save the ocean, visit padi.com/conservation.

Continue Reading

Miscellaneous Blogs

The BiG Scuba Podcast… with Rosemary Lunn

Published

on

Ian and Gemma chat among themselves and are also are joined by well-known Dive Industry Professional Rosemary Lunn.

We talk about dive fitness and entering the CrossFit 2021 open games and being members of our local CrossFit Box. You can also listen to our new member of the team – Rosemary Lunn – answer some scuba diving questions.

Find out more about Rosemary at www.tumc.co.uk.


Find more podcast episodes and information at the new www.thebigscuba.com  website and on most social platforms @thebigscuba 

Continue Reading

E-Newsletter Sign up!

Competitions

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 john@thescubaplace.co.uk

www.thescubaplace.co.uk

More Less

Instagram Feed

Popular