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Marine Life & Conservation

Welsh Government offers free fishing gear recycling to Welsh fishing community

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In response to the threat caused by the marine litter crisis the Welsh Government has teamed up with the marine waste specialist firm Odyssey Innovation Ltd, creators of the Net Regeneration Scheme, in an unprecedented project for the Welsh fishing communities to offer a sustainable solution for end of life fishing gear such as whelk pots, buoys, ropes, net, floating pontoons and any other recyclable plastics.

Odyssey Innovation’s Net Regeneration Scheme is the only scheme in the UK that offers free net recycling solutions of Polyethylene trawl, Nylon and other plastic generated and recovered by the fishing industry. Everything that can be recycled in the UK is recycled locally and they use specialist recyclers in Europe to recycle any problematic materials.

The Net Regeneration Scheme has additional benefits in reducing CO2 by putting recycled plastic back into the economy, which has a significant CO2 saving over using new virgin plastic. It covers the cost of transporting the gear to plastics recyclers and closes the ‘recycling loop’ by converting the plastic waste back into products such as kayaks, surfing handplates, tote boxes and recycling bins. 

With funding from the Welsh Government, Odyssey Innovation plan to roll out a pilot Net Regeneration Scheme along the Welsh coastline and would like to invite members of the fishing community and harbours interested in participating to get in touch.

Seafish, the public body that supports the seafood industry in the UK, has offered in-kind support on behalf of Welsh Government and the Welsh fishing industry to help facilitate the project. Having previously worked in the South West with Odyssey Innovation, the organisation is delighted to be supporting this new initiative.

Mr. Rob Thompson, Managing Director at Odyssey Innovation says: “The Net Regeneration Scheme has only been made possible through collaboration, primarily between the fishing sector and conservation groups, further supported by universities and the government. This collaborative project between us, Welsh Government and fishing communities will showcase exemplary best practice in a sector where it is immensely needed; furthermore the quality of our seas and the aquatic flora and fauna within it will also benefit tremendously.’’

A Welsh Government spokesman says: ‘‘Welsh Government are pleased to be working with Odyssey Innovation to introduce the pilot scheme in Wales. Disposal options for end of life fishing gear continue to be an issue for the fishing industry in Wales and we hope this scheme will offer a solution. This scheme will be the first of its kind in Wales and will support our commitment for the Sustainable Management of Natural Resources and moving towards Good Environmental Status.’’

Dr. Holly Whiteley, Welsh Regional Manager at Seafish says: “Seafish has been supporting gear recycling initiatives around the UK, so it’s great to see this new initiative being rolled out for Welsh fishermen. Providing facilities to recycle old fishing gear will assist the sector to further improve its sustainability credentials and help it thrive.”

Odyssey Innovation Ltd is an award-winning circular economy company focused on providing a multitude of environmentally friendly marine litter solutions to a vast range of stakeholders within the fishing industry. Find out more at www.odysseyinnovation.com.

Marine Life & Conservation

Help protect our marine environment with BSAC’s new Shore Surveyor course

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BSAC has partnered with Scottish environmental charity, Seawilding, to offer everyone the chance to help champion the marine environment with the new Shore Surveyor course.

Delivered by eLearning, Shore Surveyor has been designed to engage people, particularly children and young people, in the issues that face our precious marine life. With a focus on the UK’s native oyster and seagrass beds, this eLearning course equips participants with the skills needed to help identify seashore-based habitats and record what they find.

Shore Surveyor is open to everyone, whether they are BSAC members or not.

Working with Seawilding, the UK’s first community-led native oyster and seagrass restoration project, Shore Surveyor participants will also learn about the native oyster and seagrass beds and the issues they currently face.

Both the UK’s native oyster and seagrass habitats have experienced a serious decline over the past 200 years, resulting in an estimated 95% reduction in populations. The new Shore Surveyor course ties directly into BSAC’s major new marine project, Operation Oyster, which aims to protect and restore native oyster habitats around the UK.

By the end of the course, participants can become ‘citizen scientists’ by helping to locate and record seashore areas where current or potential native oysters or seagrass populations are present. This data can then be fed into the National Marine Records Database to help scientists studying our coast as well as support future underwater surveys.

Seawilding CEO, Danny Renton, said he was delighted to partner with BSAC on the Shore Surveyor course.

“Our seas are in peril, and it’s so important to engage families and especially young people, in the wonders of the sea and to engage them in marine conservation. The Shore Surveyor course is the first step to get involved in initiatives like seagrass and native oyster restoration and to nurture a new generation of ocean activists, environmentalists and marine biologists.”

BSAC’s Chief Executive, Mary Tetley, said the new Shore Surveyor course was also part of BSAC’s drive to get more young people actively involved in marine life protection. 

“This new course not only explores the threats faced by our precious oceans but also empowers people to get directly involved.

“From a family visit to the beach to a club diving or snorkelling trip, the skills learned on Shore Surveyor can be invaluable to anyone, young or not so young, who wants to make a difference to our under-pressure marine life.”

One of the first participants of the Shore Surveyor course, 16-year-old Lili, from North Wales, has recently put her new found surveying skills into action while on her summer holidays.

“I loved it because it was simple and easy to use and remember,” said Lili. “All ages will enjoy it – young children, teenagers, parents, even grandparents.

“There is a bit of eLearning to do before you start but that is easy to do, and the course really helps you when you go out and see everything for real on the beach!”

Shore Surveyor is open to children aged eight up to adults and costs £20. For more information and to book onto the eLearning course, go to bsac.com/shoresurveyor.

For more information on Operation Oyster and other ways you can get involved, go to bsac.com/operationoyster

Images: Seawilding

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Marine Life & Conservation

PADI and Seiko Prospex unite to help create the world’s largest underwater cleanup for ocean change

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PADI® and Seiko Prospex are teaming up to help marine conservation charity Oceanum Liberandum host the world’s largest underwater cleanup event in Sesimbra, Portugal on 24 September 2022.

Taking place during AWARE Week, the event aims to bring together 700 divers to clean up the coastline for a 12-hour period and is anticipated to host the most divers ever on record taking part in one consecutive underwater cleanup effort.  Participating divers and dive centres from around the region will come together to collect marine debris–which will ultimately be logged into PADI’s Dive Against Debris database.

“Our database is the world’s largest in terms of capturing seafloor debris data, which has already helped drive two pioneering scientific papers being used to create new waste management policies,” says Emma Daffurn, CSR Specialist for PADI Worldwide. “More than 250 million tons of plastic are estimated to make its way into our ocean by 2025 and the environmental damage caused by plastic debris alone is estimated at $13 billion US a year. This world record attempt further highlights the important role divers play in reporting, removing and advocating to stop marine debris at its source.”

PADI is proud to have Seiko Prospex on board as the sponsor of the marine debris program and a partner for this world record attempt. Their support is critical to advancing the PADI Blueprint for Ocean Action, and protecting the global ocean now and for generations to come.

“Helping to raise awareness and take an active role in environmental conservation has become one of Seiko Prospex’s missions,” says Miguel Rodrigues, Sales & Marketing Director for Seiko Prospex. “We seek, whenever possible, to support events that have ocean conservation at their core, and we are very honored to sponsor the world’s largest underwater cleanup. We are proud to contribute to a more sustainable future where humans are an integral part of nature.”

Those who want to volunteer to take part in the world record attempt can learn more and sign up at oceanumliberandum.pt/en/Largest-Underwater-cleanup-in-the-World/. The 15 euro registration fee will go towards supporting dive centres with boats, facilities and air bottle logistics.

“We’re thrilled to have the chance to work with Seiko in supporting the largest underwater cleanup event so that we can mobilise Ocean TorchbearersTM to take action to protect what they love, capture more essential data for policy changes, and continue the wave of momentum in creating positive ocean change,” says Daffurn.

For more from PADI, visit www.padi.com

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