Connect with us
background

News

Third round of Marine Conservation Zone designation could result in 40% of English seas being protected

Published

on

Marine Conservation Society says proposed new sites have potential to protect a wide range of marine wildlife and habitats

Last week’s announcement that the designation of 41 proposed Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) for English waters will be open to public consultation over the next six weeks has been welcomed by the UK’s leading marine charity, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS).

However, the charity says that designation is only the first step to creating a network of sites. It says a ‘whole-site approach’ – not just protecting vulnerable parts within a site – to management is key, and that adequate funding must be found to ensure these final sites are not protected in name alone.

It is fantastic to have this last set of sites proposed after much painstaking work since 2009, when the process to select special places deserving protection began,” says Sandy Luk, MCS Chief Executive Officer. “With every one of them designated, we will have enough of the sea in protected areas to provide a fantastic foundation for ensuring marine life can recover and thrive.

Defra’s ambition in its 25 Year Environment Plan is to protect entire sites, and this consultation looks at providing areas with a high level of protection. It has never been more important that we deliver both of these ambitions!

MCS has been keen to see a ‘whole site approach’ to management of MCZs since the first sites were designated in 2012. Dr Jean-Luc Solandt, MCS Principal Specialist on Marine Protected Areas says: “At last we are seeing the opportunity to provide more comprehensive protection across a variety of habitats that can protect fish as well as worms, prawns, reefs, lobsters, coral and sponges. So far, management of England’s MCZs hasn’t resulted in any meaningful recovery. Perhaps this new approach will finally meet our goals for these important areas.


MCS says it’s important that sound scientific advice isn’t ignored as has happened in the past when plans to protect many important sites, with plentiful evidence, were shelved.Among the sites put forward for the public consultation, which starts today, is Beachy Head East, which is well known for its offshore reefs, muds and sands around the Royal Sovereign Shoals lighthouse. It extends way offshore, but was initially rejected in the 2013 process and protection for the site was delayed until now. South-west Approaches to Bristol Channel is an area that hosts a reef complex, and a sand and gravel seabed. Recovery of the fish populations and wider species in this rich sea would widely benefit the animals, and migratory species (such as common dolphin, sharks and seabirds) that regularly visit this site.

Further offshore, South West Deeps East is an area that could show phenomenal recovery following intense historical fishing pressure. MCS has received reports of massive hauls of giant mussel-like ‘fan shells’ in the past. Allowing such communities to recover will make the area highly productive once again.

South Rigg, and other sites in the Irish Sea could help recovery of fish such as cod, haddock, ling, and even common skate, a fish that is now extremely rare.  Protection of these sites, coupled with a ban on discards from fisheries, could bring greater species richness and better support a thriving fishing community, too.

The Marine Conservation Society urges the public to take part in the consultation, and support the designation of the sites. More information can be found at:  www.mcsuk.org/mpa.

Nick and Caroline (Frogfish Photography) are a married couple of conservation driven underwater photo-journalists and authors. Both have honours degrees from Manchester University, in Environmental Biology and Biology respectively, with Nick being a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a former high school science teacher with a DipEd in Teaching Studies. Caroline has an MSc in Animal Behaviour specializing in Caribbean Ecology. They are multiple award-winning photographers and along with 4 published books, feature regularly in the diving, wildlife and international press They are the Underwater Photography and Deputy Editors at Scubaverse and Dive Travel Adventures. Winners of the Caribbean Tourism Organization Photo-journalist of the Year for a feature on Shark Diving in The Bahamas, and they have been placed in every year they have entered. Nick and Caroline regularly use their free time to visit schools, both in the UK and on their travels, to discuss the important issues of marine conservation, sharks and plastic pollution. They are ambassadors for Sharks4Kids and founders of SeaStraw. They are Dive Ambassadors for The Islands of The Bahamas and are supported by Mares, Paralenz, Nauticam and Olympus. To find out more visit www.frogfishphotography.com

News

The Rescue – available on Disney+ tomorrow (Watch Trailer)

Published

on

If you missed the recent cinema debut of The Rescue film, you can watch it on streaming channel Disney+ from tomorrow December 3rd.

From Academy Award®-winning filmmakers E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin (Free Solo), The Rescue is the edge-of-your-seat account of the rescue of 12 Thai school boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave system in 2018.

The Rescue chronicles the dramatic rescue of the boys and their coach, trapped deep inside a flooded cave. Academy Award®-winning directors and producers E. Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin reveal the perilous world of cave diving, the bravery of the rescuers, and the dedication of an entire community that made great sacrifices to save these young boys. An outing to explore a nearby system of caves after soccer practice transformed into a two-week saga of survival and a story that would capture the world’s attention. With exclusive access and never-before-seen footage from the rescue, the film tells the story of the imagination, determination and unprecedented teamwork displayed during this heroic edge-of-your-seat mission with life-or-death stakes.

Check back for our review of The Rescue soon!

Continue Reading

Marine Life & Conservation

Shark Guardian investigation finds endangered sharks for sale in Taiwan

Published

on

A field investigation into Taiwan’s shark fin industry was conducted by Shark Guardian between December 2020 and March 2021. The investigation obtained documentary evidence of fins from endangered shark species being openly offered for sale by over half of all shark fin traders surveyed in Taiwan’s southern fishing port of Kaohsiung.

Of the 13 shark fin processing and trading companies visited, more than half were found to be trading CITES- listed fins, and seven had shark fins from CITES Appendix II-listed species as part of their product range. One company saidthere was no difference in selling protected or unprotected species. Protected sharks’ products usually create a problem for international shipping only.”

The new report details how seven out of thirteen traders surveyed in Taiwan were found to be selling shark fins from silky sharks, oceanic whitetip sharks, mako sharks, thresher sharks and great white sharks in broad daylight – in contravention of Taiwanese and international law.

Over a three-month period, Shark Guardian investigators witnessed multiple shipments of shark fins from endangered species being unloaded at Donggang fish market which is in Taiwan’s southern city of Kaohsiung.

Alex Hofford, Marine Wildlife Campaigner with Shark Guardian, said “To save sharks and the marine environment, Taiwanese authorities should implement an immediate crackdown on its cruel and unsustainable shark fin trade, and should tighten up local laws to ban the domestic sale of shark fin as well as better enforce its international obligations under CITES. It is also high time that the Taiwanese government should rein in its out-of-control distant water tuna fishing fleet, who are a major supplier shark fin to Chinese markets. Whilst Taiwan is a beacon of democratic and progressive values in Asia, it is allowing its unsustainable and often crime-ridden fisheries sector to rape and pillage our ocean with impunity. This must stop. Taiwan needs to show leadership in environmental protection and must quickly clean up its act as regards its sleazy shark fisheries and trade sectors.”

During our investigation, Shark Guardian also found evidence of Taiwan-based online retailers selling fins of endangered species of shark in contravention of local and international law.

According to WWF, a third of all sharks and rays are threatened with extinction, yet fishing and trading in unsustainable shark fin remains a highly profitable, but environmentally destructive, enterprise for Taiwanese companies operating out of Kaohsiung.

Brendon Sing, Co-Director of Shark Guardian said “Clearly more must be done to protect sharks globally. There are over 500 known shark species with only a handful of them listed under CITES. Even then, CITES listed sharks are still traded illegally where monitoring and enforcement lack any power and expose loopholes in the system. As long as this continues, there is no real protection for any shark species regardless of CITES listing or not. Taiwan must be responsible and take positive action in response to this report.”

Shark Guardian believes that excessively large profit margins are the main reason why Taiwan has never acted to rein in its shark fisheries and trade.

Shark Guardian hopes that Taiwan can apply its progressive values towards preserving the marine environment by imposing a comprehensive ban on the physical and online selling all species of shark fin in Taiwan. Such a ban would go above and beyond what is required under international law, and Taiwan’s domestic laws can be changed with public support.

For more information about Shark Guardian visit their website by clicking here.

Continue Reading

E-Newsletter Sign up!

Competitions

Egypt | Safaga, Brothers & Elphinstone | 27 January – 04 February 2022 | Emperor Elite

Jump on board this famous Red Sea liveaboard and enjoy diving the famous wrecks of the Red Sea with this fantastic special offer.  Emperor Elite offers a contemporary living space combined with the best itineraries available in the Red Sea.

Price NOW from just £975 per person based on sharing a twin cabin including:

  • Flights from London Gatwick to Hurghada with 23kgs baggage
  • 7 nights in shared cabin
  • 3 meals a day, soft drinks, red wine with dinner
  • 6 days’ diving, guide, 12ltr tank & weights, Marine Park fees and port departure fees
  • Free Nitrox

Booking deadline: Subject to availability.

Call Diverse Travel on 01473 852002 or email info@diversetravel.co.uk.

More Less

Instagram Feed

Popular