Conservation scientists are calling for new approaches to biodiversity monitoring to reflect the creation of a global network of large marine protected areas, in research published today by the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and University of Western Australia (UWA), funded by the Australian National Environmental Research Program (NERP) and the Bertarelli Foundation.
The research was published today in the journal Biological Reviews and was funded by the Australia’s National Environmental Science Programme and the Bertarelli Foundation.
By closing large tracts of ocean to fishing, the creation of marine reserves in locations including Chagos, Chile and New Zealand is removing what was traditionally the only reliable source of data on fish populations available to managers in these regions, highlighting a clear need for new non-lethal approaches to monitoring.
The ZSL/UWA report suggests harnessing emerging technologies including underwater action cameras in tandem with established techniques like acoustic echo-location to provide non-lethal monitoring of wildlife within these vast new ocean sanctuaries. The study’s findings were based on extensive literature review, combined with field trials of technological approaches in the Indian Ocean’s 640,000 km2 Chagos Marine Reserve, the enforcement of which has been supported by the Bertarelli Foundation.
Commenting on the research, lead author Dr Tom B. Letessier from ZSL said: “Species including migratory sharks, tunas and billfish are amongst the most iconic marine predators on the planet, yet as our review demonstrates, the collapse in their numbers since the 1950s now also make them some of the most threatened.
“Most of what we know about these animals comes from decades of commercial fishing records, which have historically been the only data available for fisheries management. Recent positive steps to create large marine reserves that exclude commercial fishing have had the unintended consequence of reducing the availability of these data, thereby requiring new approaches to measurement. In addition to establishing trends in large marine reserve size and coverage, our study reviews existing methods used in the absence of fishing and demonstrates non-lethal ways to complement them.”
Expanding on the significance of the study, co-author Professor Jessica Meeuwig from UWA’s Oceans Institute explained: “While the role of marine reserves in protecting coastal ecosystems is now well-understood, far less is known about the impact of these large reserves on highly migratory species like sharks and tuna, which may roam across entire ocean basins. If we are to demonstrate the success of these new large sanctuaries, we need to think outside the box to devise effective, non-lethal monitoring techniques in areas where fishing is banned.”
Other announcements following on the heels of Chagos include the 620,000 km2 Kermadec Ocean Sanctuary, announced by the New Zealand government in September 2015, and the even larger 631,368 km2 Easter Island Marine Reserve, plans for which were unveiled by the Chilean government the following month. With similar projects set to follow, the urgent need for new, technology-driven approaches to non-lethal monitoring of ocean biodiversity is clear.
Project donor Ernesto Bertarelli of the Bertarelli Foundation said: “Advances in the sophistication and affordability of technology give us the opportunity to monitor and understand marine life within protected areas as never before. This is crucial, not just to help monitor the overall health of the ocean but to better understand the role of MPAs in building wider resilience. That’s why we are so excited to support this work.”
Consumers Investing in Eco-Friendly Cars with the UK Green Revolution
The UK public appears to be embracing the electric car UK Green Revolution, as recent statistics reveal that more and more consumers are making the switch from petrol and diesel to electric or alternatively fuelled vehicles. The demand for diesel fell by almost a third in October compared to last year, whilst hybrid and electric cars rose by a staggering 36.9%.
Time for UK Green Revolution Change
So, what is the reason for this sudden change? This comes down to the current situation in the UK, which has led to people embracing eco-friendly technologies and automobiles. One of the main reasons is the Government’s clean air plans, which includes the impending 2040 ban on petrol and diesel automobiles. There is then the rollout of the T-Charge in London, the city of Oxford announcing that they will be banning petrol and diesel from the city centre by 2020 and various other big announcements which take up a lot of space and time in the UK press.
In addition to this, the negative publicity against diesel has had a huge impact on the UK public. This has led to a lot of confusion over emissions, but actually, the newest low emission diesel automobiles will not face restrictions and are not as bad to drive as many believe. Most notably, German brand Volkswagen has been affected due to the emissions scandal in recent times. It was discovered that some emissions controls for VW’s turbocharged direct injection diesel engines were only activated during laboratory testing, so these automobiles were emitting 40 times more NO in real-world driving. As a result of this and all the negative publicity, the manufacturer has made adaptations and amended their vehicles in Europe. Additionally, they have made movements to improve the emissions from their cars, meaning that they are now one of the cleaner manufacturers. Their impressive range includes the Polo, Golf and Up, all of which can be found for affordable prices from places like Unbeatable Car.
The Current Market
The confusion over the Government’s current stance on diesel has clearly had a huge impact on the public. So much so that the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has called on the Government to use the Autumn Budget to restore stability in the market and encourage the public to invest in the latest low emission automobiles. SMMT believes that this is the fastest and most effective way to address the serious air quality concerns in this country.
One way that the Government has encouraged the public to make the switch is by making incentives. Motorists can benefit from a grant when they purchase a new plug-in vehicle, plus there are benefits like no road tax for electric vehicles and no congestion charge. When these are combined with the low running costs, it makes owning an electric automobile an appealing prospect and especially because there are so many great models available and a type to suit every motorist. One of the main reasons holding motorists back is the perceived lack of charging points. However, there are currently over 13,000 up and down the country with this number rapidly increasing each month. It is thought that the amount of charging points will outnumber petrol stations by 2020, so it is easy to see more and more motorists start to invest in electric cars way ahead of the 2040 ban.
It is an interesting time in the UK as people are now embracing the electric car revolution. The Government’s clean air plans seem to have accelerated this revolution, plus the poor publicity that diesel has received has only strengthened the case for making the switch sooner rather than later.
How To Make The Shipping Industry Greener
Each and every year more damage is done to our planet. When businesses are arranging pallet delivery or any other kind of shipping, the environment usually isn’t their number one concern. However, there’s an increasing pressure for the shipping industry to go greener, particularly as our oceans are filling with plastic and climate change is occurring. Fortunately, there’s plenty of technology out there to help with this. Here’s how the freight industry is going greener.
Make Ship Scrapping Cleaner
There are approximately 51,400 merchant ships trading around the world at the moment. Although the act of transporting tonnes of cargo across the ocean every year is very damaging to the environment, the scrapping of container ships is also very harmful. Large container ships contain asbestos, heavy metals and oils which are toxic to both people and the environment during demolition. The EU has regulations in place which ensure that all European ships are disposed of in an appropriate manner at licenced yards and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) introduced guidelines to make recycling of ships safe and environmentally friendly back in 2009, but since then only Norway, Congo and France have agreed to the policy. The IMO needs to ensure that more countries are on board with the scheme, especially India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, which are some of the worst culprits for scrapping, which may mean enforcing the regulations in the near future.
A single large container ship can produce the same amount of emissions as 50 million cars, making international shipping one of the major contributors towards global warming. Stricter emissions regulations are needed to reduce the amount of emissions entering our atmosphere. The sulphur content within ship fuel is largely responsible for the amount of emissions being produced; studies have shown that a reduction in the sulphur content in fuel oil from 35,000 p.p.m to 1,000 p.p.m could reduce the SOx emissions by as much as 97%! The IMO has already begun to ensure that ships with the Emission Control Areas of the globe, such as the Baltic Sea, the North Sea and the English Channel, are using this lower sulphur content fuel, but it needs to be enforced around the world to make a significant difference.
As it’s not currently practical or possible to completely phase-out heavy, conventional fuels around the world, a sulphur scrubber system can be added to the exhaust system of ships to help reduce the amount of sulphur being emitted.
Better Port Management
As more and more ships are travelling around the world, congestion and large volumes of cargo can leave ports in developing countries overwhelmed. Rapidly expanding ports can be very damaging to the surrounding environment, take Shenzhen for example, it’s a collection of some of the busiest ports in China and there has been a 75% reduction in the number of mangroves along the coastline. Destroying valuable ecosystems has a knock-on effect on the rest of the country’s wildlife. Port authorities need to take responsibility for the environmental impact of construction and ensure that further expansion is carried out sustainably.
Some have suggested that instead of expansion, improved port management is needed. If port authorities can work with transport-planning bureaus, they will be able to establish more efficient ways of unloading cargo to reduce the impact on the environment caused by shipping congestion.