McClellan C.M.,University of Exeter |
Brereton T.,MARINElife |
Dell'Amico F.,Center Detudes Et Of Soins Pour Les Tortues Marines |
Johns D.G.,Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science |
And 9 more authors.
The temperate waters of the North-Eastern Atlantic have a long history of maritime resource richness and, as a result, the European Union is endeavouring to maintain regional productivity and biodiversity. At the intersection of these aims lies potential conflict, signalling the need for integrated, cross-border management approaches. This paper focuses on the marine megafauna of the region. This guild of consumers was formerly abundant, but is now depleted and protected under various national and international legislative structures. We present a meta-analysis of available megafauna datasets using presence-only distribution models to characterise suitable habitat and identify spatially-important regions within the English Channel and southern bight of the North Sea. The integration of studies from dedicated and opportunistic observer programmes in the United Kingdom and France provide a valuable perspective on the spatial and seasonal distribution of various taxonomic groups, including large pelagic fishes and sharks, marine mammals, seabirds and marine turtles. The Western English Channel emerged as a hotspot of biodiversity for megafauna, while species richness was low in the Eastern English Channel. Spatial conservation planning is complicated by the highly mobile nature of marine megafauna, however they are important components of the marine environment and understanding their distribution is a first crucial step toward their inclusion into marine ecosystem management. © 2014 McClellan, et al. Source
Crawled News Article
One of the most baffling sights this year so far: thousands of bright pink plastic detergent bottles getting washed up on a Cornwall beach in the United Kingdom. And locals are bracing themselves for more bottles to appear on the shore. More than 2,000 bottles arrived at Poldhu Cove on the Lizard last Sunday, prompting diligent clearing operations. Volunteers warned that the bottles – expected to increase in numbers in the coming days – pose a potential risk to wildlife. The pink bottles come from a container going overboard from a ship during a recent storm. Reckitt Benckiser (RB) is currently investigating the connection of its products to the bottles. “[T]he Maritime Coastguard Agency sent a helicopter out and discovered that actually there’s whole rafts of them that are likely to be coming our way,” said Justin Whitehouse of the National Trust. The plastic bottles were believed to be full. Whitehouse added that Lizard Point is among the largest shipping routes in the UK. The high seas usually cause ships to lose containers, which will sink to the bottom and lie there for months prior to a storm breaking them open and rising to the surface. In a statement, RB assured that regardless of the bottles’ origin, they are looking into the matter and providing financial, logistical, and technical support for cleanup and disposal operations. Kids, Dogs Should Keep Away In the meantime, the local council urged everyone to keep children and dogs at a safe distance from the bottles, some of which were seen foaming. Cornwall Council and partners that include the Maritime and Coastguard Agency continue to monitor nearby beaches and perform cleanups. The container was thought to be separated from its vessel near Land’s End back in May. Various groups expressed concerns over the situation, with plastic pollution in the seas already a pressing matter. Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s Matt Slater cited the bottles’ contents and their potential impact on the marine ecosystem. “[O]f course, the plastic bottles themselves could persist in the environment for hundreds of years,” he said. Smaller plastic pieces could be ingested by marine creatures, resulting in illness and even death. Poldhu Beach Watcher added on Twitter that while the pink bottles can be cleared, the “real environmental disaster” lies on the lines of pulverized plastic remaining at every tide. Plastic pollution in the oceans is a global concern. About 80 percent of marine litter originates on land and is largely made up of plastic, which could choke and starve seabirds, sea turtles, whales, and other marine animals to death. U.S. environmental watchdog group Natural Resources Defense Council said this pollution not only threatens public and marine health, but also entails huge costs for cleanup, causes flood because of trash-blocked drains, and lost tourism revenue from dirty beaches. A survey on some California communities, for instance, found that their total annual costs for preventing litter from turning into pollution is a staggering $428 million a year. One of NRDC’s key recommendations is to hold plastic producers and polluters accountable.
Witt M.J.,University of Exeter |
Hardy T.,Cornwall Wildlife Trust |
Johnson L.,Wave Action |
McClellan C.M.,University of Exeter |
And 7 more authors.
Marine Ecology Progress Series
Basking sharks Cetorhinus maximus have undergone widespread historic exploitation in the northeast Atlantic and are of conservation concern. A greater knowledge of their spatial and temporal habitat use is required to better inform subsequent monitoring and management strategies. Techniques such as light-based geolocation have provided great insights into individual movements, but currently available data do not permit extrapolation to the population level. Public recording schemes may, however, help to fill shortfalls in data gathering, especially when analysed in conjunction with data from these other techniques. We analysed 11 781 records (from 1988 to 2008) from 2 public recording databases operating in the UK. We describe 3 sightings hotspots: western Scotland, Isle of Man and southwest England, and highlight the marked seasonality of basking shark sightings, which were at their greatest during the northeast Atlantic summer (June to August). We further highlight a significant correlation between the duration of the sightings season in each year and the North Atlantic Oscillation, an atmosphere-ocean climate oscillation that has been linked to forcing of marine ecosystems. We augment patterns from public sightings records with effort-related data collected by boat-based transects at 2 regional sightings hotspots (western Scotland and southwest England). Analysis of reported body size data indicated that the annual proportion of small sharks (<4 m length) sighted by the public decreased, the proportion of medium-sized sharks sighted (4-6 m) increased, and the proportion of large sharks sighted (>6 m) remained constant. These patterns may be indicative of a population recovery following systematic harvesting in the 20th century. © Inter-Research 2012. Source
Pikesley S.K.,University of Exeter |
Witt M.J.,University of Exeter |
Hardy T.,Cornwall Wildlife Trust |
Loveridge J.,Cornwall Wildlife Trust |
And 2 more authors.
Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
Cetacean species and their habitats are under threat and effective marine management mitigation strategies require knowledge and understanding of cetacean ecology. This requires data that are challenging and expensive to obtain; incidental sightings/strandings data are potential underused resources. In this study, incidental cetacean sightings (N = 6631) and strandings (N = 1856) in coastal waters of Cornwall, south-west Britain (1991 to 2008) were analysed for evidence of spatial and temporal patterns or trends. Eighteen species were recorded sighted and/or stranded; key species were identified as bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus), harbour porpoise (Phocoena phocoena), common dolphin (Delphinus delphis), Risso's dolphin (Grampus griseus) and minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata). There were significant decreases in bottlenose dolphin sightings and pod size but an increase in harbour porpoise and minke whale sightings. Cetacean strandings showed a recent decrease over time although there was a significant positive trend in harbour porpoise strandings that correlated with sightings. Incidence of sightings and strandings were both greater on the south coast than the north coast. When Marine Tour Operator data were analysed, distinct species-specific inshore and offshore habitat use was evident. With rigorous interrogation and editing, significant patterns and trends were gained from incidentally collected data, highlighting the importance of public engagement with such recording schemes and the potential of these underused resources. © 2012 Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. Source
Tom H.,Cornwall Wildlife Trust |
Tom H.,Chelonia Inc. |
Ruth W.,Cornwall Wildlife Trust |
Ruth W.,Chelonia Inc. |
And 4 more authors.
Journal of Cetacean Research and Management
In Europe, problems with the use of pingers on larger fishing vessels have raised the question as to whether pingers would be practical on smaller vessels, which are a large proportion of the European static net fishing fleet. In this study, four netting vessels less than 10m long used AQUAmark pingers on part of their nets off the southwest coast of Britain over a 12 month period. Boat skippers recorded ease of use. Acoustic click detectors were deployed on test and control nets to assess the response of cetaceans to the pingers. No significant practical problems, apart from premature failure of pingers, were encountered. During the study, only one harbour porpoise was bycaught, in an unpingered net. In 650 days of acoustic data from pingered and non-pingered nets, matched by location, date and boat, there was a highly significant reduction in the number of porpoise clicks recorded at nets with pingers to 48% of the number predicted from the number recorded at control nets (range 35-51%). To assess habituation, single, modified pingers that were active for alternate seven hour periods were moored below a click detector at two sites, one of which has strong tides and high levels of associated ambient noise. This study showed a stronger pinger effect at the quiet site and a much reduced effect at the noisy site. There was evidence of a period of exclusion of porpoises following pinger use that could exceed seven hours, and no evidence of habituation. Results suggest that pingers are practical on small vessels, that they reduce harbour porpoise activity around nets and are therefore likely to reduce bycatch. Easier means of detecting pinger failure are needed. Pingers should be considered as a bycatch mitigation method in small vessel fisheries using bottom set nets. Source