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Marine Life & Conservation

Sea Shepherd UK offers reward for conviction of anyone illegally killing iconic Scottish Seals

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Sea Shepherd

This is old news (from late April) but we feel it’s still worth publishing. The following has been taken from Sea Shepherd UK’s website:

Sea Shepherd UK is offering a £5000 reward for photographic or video evidence leading to the successful prosecution of employees, representatives, contractors or agents of the Scottish Wild Salmon Company (AKA – Usan Salmon Fisheries Limited) or any companies or individuals for illegally killing iconic Scottish seals.

Sea Shepherd UK is currently engaged in our Scottish Seal Defence Campaign based near Banff in Aberdeenshire. We are extremely pleased that the Scottish Wild Salmon Company has announced that they are currently not taking out firearms in order to shoot seals in Gamrie Bay, this is solely due to the presence of our campaign crew who have been monitoring their activities to ensure that no seals are killed. However, the Scottish Wild Salmon Company needs to understand that Sea Shepherd is relentless in its mission to defend ocean wildlife, and we will extend our Scottish Seal Defence Campaign for as long as the seals need protection.

The government of Scotland provides companies, including the Scottish Wild Salmon Company, with licenses to kill seals. However, the legislation requires that seals may only be shot as a last resort after all other methods of control have been applied. The actions of the fishing companies themselves are attracting seals to the salmon. Seals in this particular area do not typically eat salmon, but are being drawn by the large catches of salmon trapped in nets.

Scottish Wild Salmon Company has a non-lethal solution available for us in the form of Acoustic Deterrent Devices (ADDs), and they have recently announced they will now rely on ADDs at other Salmon netting sites.  Unfortunately, bullets are always cheaper and easier than non-lethal alternatives. Although shooting seals in Gamrie bay is currently suspended due to Sea Shepherd UK’s monitoring and patrols – the shooting of seals could return if we were to leave (which we have no intention of doing).

Why does it take policing by an NGO to make companies do the right thing under the law? Without effective policing by Marine Scotland (the agency responsible for the seal killing licenses), it is left to Sea Shepherd to once again uphold national and international laws which governments neither cannot, nor will not enforce.

David Scott, Director of Sea Shepherd UK stated, “Since the Scottish seal cull resumed in January 2011, Usan Salmon Fisheries Ltd has slaughtered more seals than any other firm holding licences to kill these wonderfully friendly and inquisitive animals. The damage they are doing to Scotland’s reputation as a world leading eco-tourism destination cannot be overstated. The damage to the local seal population is evident for all to see.”

The Scottish people recently voted for the seals to be one of Scotland’s Big 5 iconic species, and by needlessly slaughtering beautiful Scottish seals the Scottish Wild Salmon Company is damaging Scotland’s image around the world. 

The only course of action for the Scottish Wild Salmon Company is to immediately relinquish their seal killing licences and publically announce that they are now a seal-friendly company.

In order to qualify for any Sea Shepherd reward, the information or evidence provided must directly lead to the apprehension and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the crime and the case for which information is supplied must still be open with the appropriate authorities. Law enforcement officers (and any persons who obtain such information by way of their occupation) are not eligible for Sea Shepherd rewards.

To encourage local residents to help defend their seals – Sea Shepherd UK is also offering £100 for new (taken after 27th April 2014) clear images or video of the Scottish Wild Salmon Company shooting seals within their current licence conditions in Gamrie Bay.

To submit information or evidence on the illegal killing of seals by the Scottish Wild Salmon Company or any other company or individuals – please e-mail Sea Shepherd UK’s campaign crew at: report@seashepherduk.org including as many details, clear photographs and video as possible.

For more information visit www.seashepherd.org.uk.

Marine Life & Conservation

Join us in supporting Dive Project Cornwall Crowdfunder Project

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Do you have a moment to help protect our oceans?

We’re on a mission and have partnered with DIVE PROJECT CORNWALL to help protect our oceans for future generations to cherish and enjoy.

DIVE PROJECT CORNWALL is a unique EDUCATION and EXPERIENCE initiative, reaching over 3,000 schools with their Ocean Education Programme, inspiring the next generation to protect our oceans for everyone to cherish and enjoy.

At the heart of the project is a competition for 400 lucky teenagers to win the EXPERIENCE of a lifetime. They will take the learning from the classroom straight to the shores of Porthkerris on a 6-day, life changing trip where they will learn to scuba dive and be taught the importance of marine conservation. They will become ‘Ocean Influencers’ for the future.

DIVE PROJECT CORNWALL needs our help.

Can you join us with a gift to DIVE PROJECT CORNWALL?

Whether it’s £5 or £50, a gift from you to the DIVE PROJECT CORNWALL Crowdfunder Project will help their vision of protecting our oceans through the innovative experience designed for school children.

Will you join us and pledge to support 400 lucky teenagers learn from and EXPERIENCE the ocean like never before and give them an EDUCATION they can use to inspire others, not forgetting the memories that will last a lifetime?

For more information, you can read the DIVE PROJECT CORNWALL story HERE.

Help us create the next generation of Ocean Influencers with a donation to DIVE PROJECT CORNWALL and ensure our oceans (and planet) are protected for the future.

WWW.CROWDFUNDER.CO.UK/P/DIVE-PROJECT-CORNWALL

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Marine Life & Conservation

Spring jellyfish blooms bring turtles to UK shores

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Marine Conservation Society’s wildlife sightings project asks beachgoers to share their discoveries and contribute to research

The Marine Conservation Society’s long-running wildlife sightings project focuses on two key species which arrive on UK shores: jellyfish and, as a result, turtles. Both species are vital in supporting ocean biodiversity and are indicators of climate change while being at risk from its impacts.

The charity is asking beach and seagoers to share when they spot either of these marine animals to support ongoing research.

During spring and summer, jellyfish arrive in the UK’s warming waters to feed on plankton blooms or, in fact, anything small enough to get caught. To that extent, jellyfish feed not only on plankton, but also the array of eggs and larvae of fish, crustaceans, starfish and molluscs which rely on plankton as a stage of reproduction.

With healthy fish stocks and rich biodiversity, jellyfish quickly become part of an effective food chain. Everything from tuna to turtles will feed on jellyfish of various sizes, so the population is well controlled. Supported by a rich and diverse ocean ecosystem, jellyfish link the microscopic world of plankton to larger marine animals and the ocean around them.

Jellyfish are especially appealing for marine turtles. Six of the world’s seven marine turtle species have been spotted in UK seas as a result of jellyfish blooms in spring and summer.

The largest sea turtle, and the most common in UK seas, is the leatherback which has a ‘vulnerable’ conservation status. Reporting sightings of these incredible creatures will support the Marine Conservation Society and others in understanding their movements, potential threats and how to better protect them.

Amy Pilsbury, Citizen Science Project Lead at the Marine Conservation Society, said:“For more than 17 years, beachgoers across the UK have been contributing to scientific research by sharing their wildlife sightings with us. It’s a key part of our work and plays a vital role in better understanding and protecting our ocean.”

In 2014, with partners from the University of Exeter, the Marine Conservation Society published the first paper from the survey data, confirming key information about UK jellyfish and including the first distribution maps of the surveyed species.

Since the 2014 paper, the wildlife sightings project has recorded notable events such as massive and extensive annual blooms of barrel jellyfish and several summers of Portuguese Man o’ War mass strandings.

The charity continues to run its wildlife sightings project to see what happens to the distribution and frequency of mass jellyfish blooms over time. The data will help to explore any links jellyfish blooms have with big-picture factors such as climate change.

Jellyfish can be spotted year-round in UK seas, but larger blooms are more likely to appear in spring, lasting through until autumn. Jellyfish sighting records from 2021 suggest that compass jellyfish are the most common around UK shores, making up 36% of reported sightings.

Jellyfish species Percentage of sightings reported
Compass jellyfish 36%
Moon jellyfish 17%
Lion’s mane jellyfish 15%
Barrel jellyfish 14%
Blue jellyfish 9%
Portuguese Man o’ War 6%
Mauve stinger 2%
By the wind sailor 1%

For more information on how to identify jellyfish and turtles, and to report a sighting, please visit the Marine Conservation Society’s website.

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