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Displaying items by tag: The Wildlife Trusts

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

#MARINE WILDLIFE - Marine experts are calling on the UK public to pile pressure on their government to create Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) to help protect and restore marine wildlife in the Irish Sea and around the British coast.

The Living Seas North West Conference in Cumbria recently was a call to arms for marine experts and the public to join forces to protect the oceans.

And organisers the North West Wildlife Trusts used the event to press support for nature reserves in the Irish Sea as part of a UK-wide campaign by The Wildlife Trusts for 127 MCZs around the United Kingdom.

Callum Roberts, Professor of Marine Conservation at the University of York, described areas off the Isle of Man which have never been dredged as “carpeted with life”.

He said: “In the 19th century the Irish Sea bed was crusted with oysters. Today it is not just a sea different in the quantity of the wildlife it is different in the quality of the habitats in which that wildlife lives.”

Prof Roberts described how a study showed that dredging to catch 28,000 prawns also caught 12,000 other fish, most of which were thrown away. He also spoke of dives where he has seen the seabed damaged in huge areas by trawling.

“Over-fishing is not the only thing going on in the oceans," he said, "they are also affected by climate change and pollution. Our seas are changing faster than at any other time in human history.”

Prof Roberts said he was not against fishing, but that conservationists and the fishing industry need to find some common ground. “The prosperity of wildlife and the fishing industry depend on it," he said.

Meanwhile, The Wildlife Trusts marine protected areas manager Richard White spoke about the problems caused "by all the things that human activity is doing wrong".

He added: "We are trying to increase the resilience of our marine wildlife. The critical part is that we are doing this by trying to create Marine Conservation Zones.”

Pollution was highlighted by TV star and diver Paul Rose and Caroline Salthouse of the North West Coastal Forum.

“A huge problem is ocean debris," said Rose. "In 43 years of diving I am beginning to see more plastic and less fish. It is an issue that we must use to get people engaged in what is going on in our seas.”

Salthouse called for the public not only to sign the Wildlife Trusts’ new 'Petition Fish', but also to write to the British government as individuals.

More details about the Marine Conservation Zones and Petition Fish can be found at www.wildlifetrusts.org/living-seas

Published in Marine Wildlife

#MARINE WILDLIFE - A marine wildlife conference in Cumbria aims to delve deep into the Irish Sea to uncover some of its fascinating secrets.

The Living Seas North West Conference takes place at the Netherwood Hotel in Grange-over-Sands next Friday 19 October and presents an opportunity to discover the diversity of wildlife we have in the Irish Sea – a magnet for hundreds of species from huge basking sharks to tiny molluscs and many varieties of birds.

“The Living Seas North West conference is a chance to learn more about the Irish Sea – what’s in it, what activities go on, what impacts these have had, how it was managed in the past, how it is being managed now and how can we approach its management in the future,” said Cumbria Wildlife Trust marine conservation officer Lindsay Sullivan.

World renowned ocean expert Professor Callum Roberts and explorer, naturalist and TV personality Paul Rose will be among those giving talks on the day, and there will also be discussions hosted by experts from around the UK and Ireland on topics from offshore development and fishing to coastal zone management.

And for anyone aspiring to a career in the marine or coastal environments, the afternoon careers session will introduce them to seasoned experts offering their views on how to land your dream marine job.

The Living Seas North West Conference, hosted by the Irish Sea Wildlife Trusts, runs from 9am-5pm on Friday 19 Octover. Admission is £35 per person (#15 for under-25s and students) and includes a buffet lunch, tea and coffee, and a full delegate pack. For further details visit www.irishsea.org.

Published in Marine Wildlife
#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

The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

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At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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