Sustainable Seas

Man and Nature can Coexist

BUT it needs to be a case of the Environment over Profit.

 

Some Examples of 'Bad Practice' and

Some ideas on how to improve.

The Scottish government coined the phrase, "Maximising Sustainability", it was an attempt to gain support from commercial industries during the scrutiny of the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010. The words, 'maximise' and 'sustainable' when considering the marine environment do not fit comfortably in the same sentence.

 

The use of 'No-Take-Zones' would however go some way in sustaining the future use of Scotland's marine resources.

EU & UK 'Protection'

Part of an SAC

(Special Area of Conservation)

for Common Seals.

38 were shot in 2 days

50 were shot in one season.

 

The salmon farm can be seen, the six ringed structures, along with feed barges. The floating structure nearest the haul-out carries a generator and fuel dump.

 

The closest structure seen in this Google image is 20m from the 'protected' haul-out.

Most issues concerning salmon farming could be mitigated by utilising 'closed-containment' pens; but they are more expensive and without public and/or government pressure, current damaging methods continues unabated.

 

This French trawler company had four of its fleet run aground in a matter of months. The waters around the west coast of Scotland are notoriously difficult with a limited bouyage system in place.

 

The outer isles experience storms and wild seas; the decision to disband the 'full-time' ocean going tug was fool hardy at best.

 

The folly of cut-backs in such a relentless remote environment is a retrograde step, it will only be a matter of time before the 'real' cost is felt.

About 40 years ago salmon farming in Scotland was seen as an industry to overcome employment issues in more remote regions and the islands.

 

The industry grew with little concern to the environment. Currently it appears the the Scottish government in interested in expanding, in order to sustain the Chinese market.

 

It should be noted that a one percent increase would require close to a 50% expansion in Scottish waters.

 

Currently little is done to mitigate issues created by the multi-national salmon farming companies. These issues include; pouring tons of chemical treatments in to the sea, shooting seals, not as a matter of 'last resort', as required by law but in the first instance. The latest 'advance' is to fish wild wrasse from elsewhere, exploiting these fish and killing them each salmon harvest.

 

These are just some of the issues, the concept of catching wild fish to feed them from already over exploited fisheries is yet another.

A Coastguard, ocean going tug, pictured here refloating a French trawler which ran around.

 

Without an ocean going tug perminatly situated on the west coast of Scotland serious incidents will occur, not a matter of if, rather when.

People - Part of the Problem, BUT Could be Part of the Solution!

 

At Marine Concern we run with the principle that we are part of the ecosystem, we could live alongside Scottish wildlife without adversely effecting the ecosystems that support them and the fisheries that arguably support both. This can only be done if we take stock of what we have done, what we are doing and stop damaging the marine environment that supports food stocks, the tourist industry and so much more.

 

The Royal Commission for Environmental Pollution's 25th Report; 'Turning the Tide' suggested that in order to maintain future extractions and preventing biodiversity loss we need 30 percent of Scottish seas to be 'No-Take-Zones'. These are areas that do exactly what it says; - NO-TAKE. Around the world areas that use areas of no take have seen greater fish diversity, larger species and more fish. Fishermen have targeted the bounderies of these reserves and have found greater catches for less fishing effort. We just need to make the change.

 

A reintroduction on the" mobile fishing fleet; of the 'Three-Mile Limit', preventing damaging dredging and benthic trawling in fish nursery grounds would be a start in the right direction.

A Common Seal shot during a 'Seal Conservation Order'; dispite being reported, no action was taken!

Pictures for Thought

 

Good Practice V's Bad Practice

When marine mammals indeed any animal interacts with us as long as we use caution any potential problem is minimised. Actively searching them out and contravening Marine Watching Guidelines is not good for the animals and maybe not good for us either.

Souviners, what used to be seen as the 'norm' is now frowned upon and may cause untold damage to vulnerable ecosystems.

This salmon farm is situated within the Lismore SAC, a protected area for common seals. The floating diesel generator can be seen to the right of picture just 20m from the protected haul-out. Despite so called protection seals are shot here. Acoustic deterrents are routinely used in an attempt to 'scare' seals from the area. This region is a known 'hot-spot' for porpoise, acoustic deterrents are known to adversely affect porpoise. Porpoise are 'protected'. This type of activity, along with many other offences are not sustainable.

Common Examples of Problematic Human Interaction with Sealife.

 

A sperm whale was reported in Oban Bay. People flocked to see this rare sight. The whale was well out of its normal habitat and was probably ill and distressed. Boats obstructed its passage and got far to close. This kayaker probably touched the whale with his kayak. Apart from not being ethical it is illegal and dangerous. Whales are a protected species.

When done sympathetically with nature, sea kayaking is probably one of the least invasive marine activities. Watching/approaching without due concern, such as getting too close to seals while they are hauled out can cause stampeeds, which can kill pups. Seals need to 'rest' and warm as part of their lifecycle, especially during the breeding season. Harassment is now an offence in Scotland with potentially large fines and inprisionment.

Plastic Plastic Plastic Plastic Plastic

The following pictures were taken in what is commonly thought of as a 'clean' sea loch.

They were also taken from the lochsides which run parallel to the prevailing winds; therefore

plastic accumulation would not be expected as at the leeward end of the loch.

 

The 'plastic' problem is Global and needs to be addressed from both a global and local perspective. As with single use plastic shopping bags we have proved that we can act and can make a difference. This issue is huge and needs to be addressed now, before it is too late, with an attempt to clear up the current mess which is now in the food chain, adversely affecting species and geological sediments.

Long term accumulation of plastics, some will never degrade

within our lifetimes.

Polypropylene, the World's second most widely produced plastic. Rope remains in tact for millennia. It kills indiscriminately.

Discarded and lost fishing nets continue fishing until they are recovered...

often never!

Deeply embedded plastic

within the strandline

Ring ties, bag handles and an array of other shapes trap animals of all sizes...please cut all loops and rings before putting out into the rubbish bins.

NB. All photographic stills are copyright © of Mark-MC.

 

For more of Mark's images please follow the link below.

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