BLUE’S SEPTEMBER NEWSLETTER
Dear Friend of BLUE,
We’re pleased to share with you BLUE’s latest newsletter. Over the summer, the climate and ocean crises collided at a project BLUE supports in Turkey; the UK’s first national marine park in Plymouth Sound won £9.5m from the National Lottery and an independent review for the government criticised the practice of bottom trawling for causing the collapse of biodiversity and the release of carbon from the seabed.
Marine Protected Area patrol boats used in wildfire rescue mission
The start of August brought Turkey’s worst wildfires in decades, causing thousands of people to flee. BLUE’s local partners in Turkey, The Mediterranean Conservation Society, used boats which patrol the marine protected areas to rescue people from the shore and take them to safety. The protection and restoration of biodiversity in the ocean is a crucial part of the fight against climate change, but this was a more immediate use of marine protection.
Plymouth Sound National Marine Park receives £9.5M from the National Lottery
In July, BLUE celebrated Plymouth Sound National Marine Park being awarded £9.5M from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. The funding will be used to help turn the UK’s first National Marine Park into a reality and deliver environmental projects which restore and improve the marine environment.
National food strategy calls for “huge transition” in how we use the ocean
July also brought a Government-commissioned independent review by Henry Dimbleby, called the National Food Strategy, which highlighted the tremendous damage done by fishing methods to nature and marine species over the past 100 years. No form of fishing, it said, had caused more harm than bottom trawling.
New whale shark sightings in St Helena
Dramatically fewer mature whale sharks turned up around St Helena this year, according to the annual survey by St Helena National Trust and BLUE, but more than half of the enormous migratory creatures they saw had never been recorded anywhere in the world. Whale sharks have distinctive spots which, like fingerprints, enable them to be identified by divers. The Trust’s marine team is now leading a comprehensive research initiative to learn more about this endangered species.
Researchers begin to record comeback of Sussex kelp following trawler ban
Following the ban on trawling approved by the government earlier this year in more than 100 square miles of seabed off Sussex, researchers at the University of Sussex have begun conducting the first baseline survey of the Sussex coast as a part of the Sussex Kelp Restoration Project. The research, which is in collaboration with BLUE and Sussex Inshore
Fisheries and Conservation Authority, aims to record the health of kelp forests and marine life within the newly protected area.
Hinkley Point C nuclear plant heavily criticised for killing fish
BLUE supported a coalition which opposed plans by the corporate giant EDF energy to remove an acoustic deterrent which would prevent fish being sucked down an enormous plughole in the Bristol Channel designed to cool the plant. A new blog “Hinkley point C – conflict or conservation” by Dr Tom Appleby, BLUE’s chief legal affairs adviser, discusses the lessons learned from the inquiry.
Charles Clover tackles issues of sustainability on Footprint 40 podcast
Charles Clover, BLUE’s executive director, discussed the Netflix documentary Seaspiracy and disagreed with its contention that we should all stop eating fish on the latest episode of Footprint 40 – a podcast that gets under the skin of the issues facing the food and drink sector. Tune in here.
Jersey’s hidden seagrass treasure
Master’s student Pilar Ferrer de Sant Jordi recorded the marine animals she came across in Jersey’s seagrass meadows – some of which are actually increasing in places where bottom-towed fishing gear has been banned. Her blog and some of the video footage she took while conducting fieldwork for her Plymouth University MSc project, supported by BLUE and Jersey Marine Resources can be found here “Jersey’s hidden seagrass treasure.”
This year BLUE will be attending the Dorset Seafood Festival to highlight the importance of protecting fish stocks and marine life in the Lyme Bay Fisheries and Conservation Reserve in which fishermen lead on conservation measures. Head over to the BLUE Seas marquee on 11-12 September, to enjoy talks and Q&A sessions, focused on restoring the ocean to health.
Rules are driving scallop divers to greater risk
BLUE has said that a three-month close season for scallop divers in Devon has put local fishermen using this sustainable method at greater risk, forcing them into deeper, more dangerous waters. BLUE told Devon Live that low-impact fishing methods, such as diving, should be supported not hindered.
BLUE guest-edits Christopher Ward, the luxury watch brand’s, Loupe magazine
The devastating amounts of plastic washed up on a remote Indian Ocean island as a result of the setting of “fish aggregating devices” by the tuna industry are featured in the August edition of Loupe magazine. It also carries a feature on blue carbon by guest editor Charles Clover. Jo Coumbe, BLUE’s head of communications, also featured in conversation with Mike France, Co-founder and CEO of the brand in The Curiosity Project’s podcast