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Proposals unveiled to cut red tape for divers retrieving marine litter

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As part of the government’s ongoing drive to clean up our seas, new proposals launched on Friday will cut red tape and make it easier for divers to remove litter from the seabed.

  • New proposals to make it easier for divers to remove marine litter
  • Consultation launched to streamline marine licensing system for boat users
  • Plans to help tackle abandoned ‘ghost gear’ and clean up seas

Until now, a marine licence may be required for divers who retrieve litter or abandoned, lost and discarded fishing gear – known as ‘ghost gear’ – during the course of a dive. Now, in a consultation launched on Friday 2nd November by Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey, divers will be exempt from the current requirement to have a marine licence – streamlining the existing regime and helping to tackle the 640,000 tonnes of ghost gear lost in our oceans each year. The consultation also brings clarity to boat users who do not require a licence to collect litter or ghost gear from the ocean’s surface.

Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said: “Diving communities play an important role in protecting our marine environment and tackling the litter and ghost gear that blights our oceans. We want to make it easier for divers and other sea users to play their part, which is why we are looking at how we can cut red tape while still maintaining the highest protections for our precious marine life”.

The proposals to tackle marine litter form part of a wider consultation on changes to the marine licensing system, designed to simplify the current rules and reduce unnecessary burdens on divers. Existing marine licencing rules were introduced in 2011 to ensure activities such as construction and dredging are only permitted when they have taken into account environmental impact.

However, in recognition of the environmental benefits that marine litter retrieval can bring, the licensing rules have now been reviewed to allow divers to use equipment such as a lifting bag, a vessel or an aircraft to remove marine litter, while ensuring they still uphold the highest protections for habitats, protected species and items of archaeological or historical interest.

Chair of the British Sub-Aqua Club Alex Warzynski said “As divers we see first-hand the damage to the marine environment done by abandoned and lost fishing gear along with other marine litter, and anything that Defra can do to make it easy for divers to clean up without fear of doing the wrong thing will help”.

The new proposals will also allow harbour authorities to remove all marine litter as previously they have only been able to remove objects that present an immediate risk of obstruction or danger to navigation. The UK Government joined the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) in 2017, a consortium founded by World Animal Protection to collectively address the fishing litter issue. Today’s announcement is the latest step in the government’s ongoing plan to tackle marine litter in our oceans. This includes a world-leading ban on microbeads which harm marine life, and plans to ban the sale of plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds and introduce a deposit return scheme to drive up the recycling of drinks bottles and cans, subject to consultation.

The government also launched the Commonwealth Clean Oceans Alliance (CCOA) earlier this year which has seen member states join together in the fight against plastic pollution. As one part of CCOA, the Commonwealth Litter programme will support six countries across the Commonwealth to develop their own national litter action plans focusing on plastics entering the oceans.

The consultation opened on 2 November and runs for 6 weeks.

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And the winner of our Waterproof BODY 2X Power Stretch Hollow Fiber Undergarment competition is…

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We’d like to say a big thank you to all of you who entered our competition to win a Waterproof BODY 2X Power Stretch Hollow Fiber Undergarment as a prize!

As usual, lots of you entered… but there can, of course, be only one winner!

And that winner is…

  • Megan Kinsey from the UK

Congratulations Megan – your prize will be on its way to you soon!

Not a winner this time? Don’t worry – there are plenty of other competitions running on Scubaverse.com right now. To see what other awesome prizes you could be in with a chance of winning, click here!

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Aqualung launches all new XSCAPE Collection featuring eco-responsible wetsuit

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Aqualung has announced the launch of its all new XSCAPE collection. Featuring a 100 percent neoprene-free wetsuit and a rash guard made from sustainable materials, the XSCAPE line is designed for a variety of water activities and reflects Aqualung’s commitment to innovation, ocean discovery and sustainability.

Made with Yulex® eco-friendly natural rubber and ultra-stretch fabric, the 4/3mm XSCAPE wetsuit provides enhanced comfort for diving in warm waters or above surface activities in colder temperatures, and can be used for scuba diving, snorkeling, freediving, paddling or a variety of other water sports. The flexible and lightweight XSCAPE wetsuit, available in a red and olive design for men and a tropical-inspired print for women, connects consumers to nature and the natural materials the collection is made from. The suit also features Powertex knee pads, recycled, quick-drying fleece around the torso area to provide additional warmth and comfort, and a reusable mesh bag for storage after use or collecting trash from the beach or water.

“The XSCAPE collection continues Aqualung’s legacy in innovation and their tireless work to create the most forward thinking and eco-conscious dive company in the world,” said Aqualung global ocean ambassador Philippe Cousteau Jr., the grandson of one of Aqualung’s original founders, Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau. “We all have the power to change the world with the choices we make and the XSCAPE sets the new standard for wetsuits and rash guards that are stylish, functional and sustainable.”

The new collection’s long-sleeve rash guard for men and women, and matching women’s leggings, offer maximum comfort and breathability and can be used above or below the surface. All rash guards and leggings feature UV protection and are made with polyester fabric sourced from recycled plastic bottles. The entire XSCAPE line comes in plastic-free packaging with hangtags made from recycled cardboard.

“Our aim was to design the ultimate eco-friendly wetsuit that could be used for all kinds of water sports,” said Laurent Boury, Senior Vice President of Brands at Aqualung Group. “Aqualung is committed to using environmentally-friendly materials and processes whenever possible to help reduce our carbon footprint and we made design choices to ensure the XSCAPE collection was as sustainable as possible.”

“The collection name, XSCAPE, is meant to evoke the feeling of freedom and the quest for wonder that surround exploration, travel, and Aqualung’s storied history, including the first “aqua-lung” created by Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau and engineer Emile Gagnan that made underwater exploration possible,” added Boury.

To learn more please visit www.aqualung.com.

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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 john@thescubaplace.co.uk

www.thescubaplace.co.uk

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