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Displaying items by tag: Britain

A new review of marine wildlife in British waters reveals that once-rarely seen humpback whales have rebounded in recent years.

Marine Industry News reports on the 2021 Marine Review from The Wildlife Trusts which notes that humpback whale numbers are recovering since bans on commercial hunting, with more than 75 sightings around Britain since 2019.

Other sightings of note in the last 12 months include two orcas seen off Penzance in Cornwall — the most southerly sighing in half a century — and a 10-strong pod of white-beaked dolphins spitted off Essex for the first time in over two decades.

Elsewhere, puffins have returned to the Isle of Man in the Irish Sea after an absence of 30 years following a vermin control programme.

Wally the Arctic walrus’ adventures around the UK before his trail of destruction along Ireland’s South Coast made for some excitement last summer.

And the world’s largest skate, a juvenile flapper skate, was recorded in Northern Ireland as part of Ulster Wildlife’s Sea Deep programme — whose project officer Ronald Surgenor was awarded a marine conversation award in late 2020.

But concerns remain regarding a series of cetacean and marine mammal strandings around Britain’s coasts, with noise from wind farms and unsustainable fishing practices put under the spotlight.

The Wildlife Trusts website has more on the review HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#Rowing: Britain won the first race of the Coupe de la Jeunesse 2018 at the National Rowing Centre in Cork. The junior women’s eight, the traditional starting event for the event, featured five boats. Spain and France took the minor medals, while Ireland took fourth. The Coupe continues until Sunday.

Coupe de la Jeunesse, National Rowing Centre, Day One

Junior Women’s Eight – Final: 1 Britain 7:04.9, 2 Spain 7:07.1, 3 France 7:07.7; 4 Ireland (A Tyther, R O’Donoghue, C O’Sullivan, J Duggan, J Harrington, E Murphy, E Carney, C Nic Dhonncha; cox: V Hanlon) 7:15.5.

Published in Rowing
Tagged under

# coastalrowing: Irishman Gavin Sheehan and his three crewmates aboard the Black Oyster have set a new record for rowing around Britain. The Islanders rowed approximately 2,000 miles non-stop around Britain from Tower Bridge in London in 26 days nine hours nine minutes and 58 seconds. The previous record was 26 days 14 hours and 11 minutes. There is a prize of £100,000 for the record.

The 25-year-old Corkman represented Ireland at the Home International Regatta in 2005. He won the Junior Pairs title at the Irish Championships with his brother Graham in the same year.

Published in Coastal Rowing

#RYA - The Royal Yachting Association (RYA) has said it is "encouraged" by the British government's approach to designating Marine Conservations Zones (MCZs) around the coastlines of England and Wales - the details of which have disappointed environmental groups.

RYA planning and environment advisor Caroline Price commented: “The phased approach that government is proposing appears on the face of it to be very sensible.  
 
“The RYA has been resolute in insisting that an MCZ should be no larger than required to protect the habitats and wildlife features which it is intended to protect and that the scientific basis for designating a particular feature for protection should be sound.  

“We are pleased therefore to see that ministers have recognised that they need to have a strong evidence base when looking to designate sites, from both an ecological and socio-economic perspective.

“We are particularly encouraged that the approach to highly protected sites is being reviewed as the proposals for Reference Areas are of great concern to us.” 

Of the 31 sites proposed in the consultation for designation by the end of 2013, the RYA has objections to only one of the sites - the Aln Estuary, which contains "a small charted anchorage in the one location in which a vessel can stay afloat at all states of the tide in the estuary". 

The response from the RYA comes just days after environmental groups in the UK expressed their dismay over the government's decision to designate just a quarter of the recommended 127 sites.

As the Guardian reports, Westminster was accused of a "lack of ambition" by the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) over the announcement last Thursday 13 December, which it says ignores the government's own advisers who recommend a 'coherent network' that includes immediate designation for 59 sites regarded as 'highly threatened'.

The RYA says it is "broadly supportive of government plans to establish a coherent network of Marine Protected Areas and Marine Conservation Zones.

"However, it has fought throughout the process to date, and will continue to do so, to protect the public right of navigation and to ensure, as far as is possible, that recreational boating interests are not adversely affected by the designation of such MCZs."

It also emphasises that the "omission of the detail of management measures from this [public] consultation means that we still don’t really know what designation will actually mean" to affected local communities.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#NEWS UPDATE - British boat users are risking big fines if they sail their craft outside UK waters due to new laws on the use of red diesel, the Daily Telegraph reports.

New laws coming into force on 1 April "will require anyone moving into international waters to sign a declaration that their boat is not being powered by red diesel".

Red-dyed diesel is used by farmers and commercial fishermen throughout the UK at a lower rate of duty. It is also widely used by recreational boaters and yacht owners, as is green diesel by Irish pleasure boaters, though such users have been required to pay the full rate of tax for a number of years now.

However, the European Union is now clamping down on the use of dyed diesel.

The decision by Brussels is causing consternation among the yachting community, which argues that unmarked or 'white' diesel is not widely available in harbours and marinas.

And concerns remain over the presence of biofuels in white diesel which, as previously reported on Afloat.ie, can be harmful to marine engines.

The Daily Telegraph has more on the story HERE.

Published in News Update

#FISHING - Seafood lovers of Cumbria in north-west England have been urged to broaden their tastes to save depleted stocks of their favourite fish in the Irish Sea.

According to the News & Star, some 80% of Britons "insist upon eating just five types of fish – cod, tuna, salmon, prawn and haddock."

But the Cumbria Wildlife Trust says that with coastal waters facing the serious threat of overfishing, a rethink is needed among both consumers and suppliers alike.

“The Irish Sea has a wide range of edible fish species but you wouldn’t know it judging by the fish counters in supermarkets across the county," says Lindsay Sullivan of the trust's Wild Oceans project, an 18-month scheme that hopes to "turn the tide for seafood".

A big part of this is encouraging consumers to skip the usual white fish and try different species such as flounder, monkfish and red mulllet, creating demand for cheaper and more sustainable fishing.

The News & Star has more on the story HERE.

Published in Fishing

#MARINE WILDLIFE - Some 46 reports of stranded whales and dolphins in Northern Ireland are among the thousands recorded across the UK over the last six years, according to BBC News.

A new study co-ordinated by the Zoological Socoety of London (ZSL) shows that some 3,500 cetaceans were stranded on the British coastline between 2005 and 2010.

Though year-on-year figures have fallen overall, is presumed that many more strandings have gone undetected.

Many were found to have died of disease or starvation – particular harbour dolphins.

But human activity such as fishing, shipping and chemical pollution also poses a significant threat to marine wildlife in the waters around the British Isles, said Rob Deaville of the ZSL.

The public is being encouraged to report stranded marine mammals to help create a more accurate picture.

BBC News has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#COASTGUARD - Russia's ambassador to Britain has proposed rewarding rescuers involved in the search for missing seamen in the Irish Sea last week following the sinking of the cargo ship Swanland.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the cargo vessel - carrying 3,000 tonnes of limestone - went down some 10 miles west of the Lleyn peninsula in north Wales in the early hours of last Sunday.

Two of the eight crew, who were all Russian, were recovered from the sea. A third was found deceased, while the remaining five are still missing.

As many as 11 coastguard rescue teams were involved in the search operation, which also saw an RAF rescue helicopter - piloted by Prince William - lend assistance.

At a meeting with the two rescued sailors in London last Wednesday, Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko commented: “What if we propose [the rescuers] to be rewarded by the Russian side?”

Russian news agency RIA Novosti has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastguard
#MARINE WILDLIFE - Conservationists in the UK have voiced their concern that Westminster will enact fewer than a quarter of the proposed Marine Conservation Zones in British waters.
The Press Association reports that some 127 such zones - including parts of the Irish Sea - have been earmarked by regional conservation groups as areas requiring special environmental protection.
All 127 proposals were reviewed by an independent panel of scientists and government committees before they were to go on public consultation.
But it is now feared that a mere 23 of the total will get the go-ahead, due to a perceived lack of evidence to support the case for the rest.
"To only designate 23 marine conservation zones is equivalent to switching off the life support for our seas," commented Joan Edwards of the Wildlife Trusts.
The Press Association has more on the story HERE.

#MARINE WILDLIFE - Conservationists in the UK have voiced their concern that Westminster will enact fewer than a quarter of the proposed Marine Conservation Zones in British waters.

The Press Association reports that some 127 such zones - including parts of the Irish Sea - have been earmarked by regional conservation groups as areas requiring special environmental protection.

All 127 proposals were reviewed by an independent panel of scientists and government committees before they were to go on public consultation. 

But it is now feared that a mere 23 of the total will get the go-ahead, due to a perceived lack of evidence to support the case for the rest.

"To only designate 23 marine conservation zones is equivalent to switching off the life support for our seas," commented Joan Edwards of the Wildlife Trusts.

The Press Association has more on the story HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife
Northern Ireland's First Minister has highlighted the need for local knowledge in light of the threatened closure of the Clyde coastguard station in Scotland.
As previously reported by Afloat.ie, the control centre at Greenock is set to be scrapped under the UK government's plans to streamline Britain's coastguard network.
Some 31 jobs will be lost in the closure, while rescues on the River Clyde and western Scotland will in future be handled from Northern Ireland's Bangor station on Belfast Lough - which itself was saved from the chop following a review over the summer.
In a latter to MSP for West of Scotland, Stuart McMillan, First Minister Peter Robinson said that his and his government's concerns "centre on the safety of the people using our coasts and seaways, which could be jeopardised by the loss of local knowledge and experience."
McMillan welcomed his support, adding that "despite the consultation period being over, it is not too late for the UK Government listen to the growing number of voices saying that this must be reversed.
“Closing coastguard stations down including Clyde is a short-sighted and dangerous move which puts saving money over saving lives.”

#COASTGUARD - Northern Ireland's First Minister has highlighted the need for local knowledge in light of the threatened closure of the Clyde coastguard station in Scotland.

As previously reported by Afloat.ie, the control centre at Greenock is set to be scrapped under the UK government's plans to streamline Britain's coastguard network. 

Some 31 jobs will be lost in the closure, while rescues on the River Clyde and western Scotland will in future be handled from Northern Ireland's Bangor station on Belfast Lough - which itself was saved from the chop following a review over the summer.

In a letter to MSP for West of Scotland, Stuart McMillan, First Minister Peter Robinson said that his and his government's concerns "centre on the safety of the people using our coasts and seaways, which could be jeopardised by the loss of local knowledge and experience."

McMillan welcomed his support, adding that "despite the consultation period being over, it is not too late for the UK Government listen to the growing number of voices saying that this must be reversed.

“Closing coastguard stations down including Clyde is a short-sighted and dangerous move which puts saving money over saving lives.”

Published in Coastguard
Page 1 of 2

Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

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