Sunday, 4 August 2013

Padstow dolphins and Marine Conservation Zones

A piece from last week's Independent:

Our treatment of orca underscores an extraordinary disconnection from the sea

As National Maritime Week opens we need to adjust our approach to these creatures
Sunday 28 July 2013

Last week, up to 25 motorboats harassed a pod of bottlenose dolphins at Padstow in Cornwall, killing a rare dolphin calf in the process. That incident has been followed by another one in which a live, stranded porpoise was found by members of the public near a Butlins resort. Not only did they neglect to report it to the coastguard or any appropriate authority, but they moved it around and photographed it, without any attempt to return the creature to deeper water. It too died.
These shocking incidents from our heatwave summer exasperate campaigners, for whom protecting the sea has become a Sisyphean struggle. Conservation charities are pleading with Environment minister Richard Benyon to act on his promise to establish a network of Marine Conservation Zones around the UK. Despite experts’ recommendations for 127 such sites, only 31 have been selected by the Government, and even then, no timetable has been proposed.
Such vacillation only underlines our extraordinary disconnection from the sea and its animals – for all that we are an island nation. The sea covers a multitude of our sins, a victim of its ability to hide beneath what Herman Melville called “the ocean’s skin”. Astonishingly, until the 1980s, Britain was dumping nuclear waste off the Cornish coast. We discharge pesticides and fertilizers into the water from agricultural run-off; even the chemicals that coat our carpets and furniture find their way into the sea.
Our recreation also manages to bespoil. That scourge of the quiet beach, the jet ski, is ridden by unlicensed petrolheads, pumping out almost as much fuel as they burn up. Worse still, the cacophony disorientates cetaceans, which rely on hearing as their most important sense.

Our treatment of orca underscores an extraordinary disconnection from the sea - Comment - Voices - The Independent

Whilst the police are now looking into this:
Rare Bottlenose Dolphin Death In Cornwall Investigated By Specialist Police
The ocean update | Sibylline – Medicine, Education, Research/whales and marine faunaDolphin killed off Padstow – police appeal for witnesses (UK) | The ocean update
£2,000 reward offered in hunt for bottlenose dolphin killer in Cornwall's Camel estuary - Crime - UK - The Independent

There have been further calls for the establishment of Marine Conservation Zones - which would protect both endangered species/habitats and overfished stocks:
Natural England - Marine Conservation Zones
Hugh's Fish Fight - Marine Conservation Zones
Fresh claims for English MCZs
Call for marine habitats to be established | Cornish Guardian

However, Devon and Cornwall might not be getting any MCZs: 

Remaining marine zones may not happen

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Government has been accused of showing "complete contempt" for the environment after it emerged that long-awaited marine conservation areas around the Westcountry coast could now be under threat.
Environmentalists reacted angrily to confirmation that this year ministers will designate just 31 of the 127 marine conservation zones (MCZs) originally put forward – including just 15 of 58 off the South West coast.
A Government report on consultation responses indicates the latest spending review, which saw the budget for the Environment Department (Defra) cut by 10%, could affect efforts to designate further sites.
Defra said it would be designating the first tranche of MCZs in the autumn and is consulting on eastern waters first. It has not set out a timetable for the creation of more protected sites, leading to concerns that those off Devon and Cornwall may never materialise. 
The Wildlife Trusts' head of living seas, Plymouth-based Joan Edwards, said: "Stakeholders invested time, energy and money to identify an ecologically coherent network which would not only provide our seas with the protection they need to recover and thrive, but which also took into account social and economic impacts of designation. We want to see an ambitious timetable for designation of future sites that we, and the scientific community, agree our seas need."
Remaining marine zones may not happen | This is Cornwall
Government announcement on English Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) – further delays

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I really hope this kind of work continues and would spread around the world.
- Diving in Indonesia