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New Research to Aid Sustainable Fisheries Management in Marine Protected Areas

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Scientists now have a better understanding of the level of fishing activity that can be carried out within Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and still remain compatible with conservation objectives, thanks to new research.

The research, carried out in three MPAs, looked at the effects of fishing activity and natural environmental conditions on the seabed and has resulted in a more accurate picture of what is happening beneath the waves. With this information scientists have a greater bank of evidence to justify what levels of bottom towed gear fishing activity can be carried out within MPAs and still encourage conservation.

This will be good news for fishermen, who face losing their traditional fishing grounds as the roll out of a series of government-backed MPAs continues. While hardline conservationists demand complete no-fishing zones, this new evidence will help to scientifically justify protected areas that allow fishing activity to continue. This can even include bottom trawls where the fishing gear makes contact with the seabed.

The National Federation of Fishermen’s Organisations (NFFO) commissioned the work, which was led by ABPmer with Ichthys Marine Ecological Consulting Ltd, and supported with funding from Seafish and the European Fisheries Fund (EFF).

The MPAs and fisheries examined included:

  • Beam trawling in North Norfolk Sandbanks and Saturn Reef SCI;
  • Shrimp trawling in The Wash and North Norfolk Coast SAC;
  • Otter trawling in Margate and Long Sands SCI.

Dale Rodmell, Assistant Chief Executive of the NFFO said: “We commissioned this research to specifically look at MPAs where there are fisheries taking place on sediment habitats, and particularly in areas that are thought to be naturally dynamic.  There is a misconception that fishing with mobile gears that contact the seabed are damaging wherever they occur, but we wanted to examine whether the existing fisheries were compatible with conservation objectives in such areas.

“Our choice of MPAs also looked at where there would be great hardship if these fisheries were to be banned from their traditional fishing grounds.  We are very pleased with the results, which help to advance technical approaches to fisheries assessments. We hope the management authorities will take on board the findings, particularly for the three sites in question.”

Suzannah Walmsley, fisheries specialist at ABPmer, said: “The Government’s approach to managing commercial fisheries in European Marine Sites in English waters requires assessment of fishing activity and its impact on protected features.  This new research is an important step in ensuring that there is an appropriate base of evidence from which to draw further conclusions. Incorporating information from the industry reduced the uncertainty and the need for precaution to be used in management. We based assessments on the impacts of individual gear components which allowed a clear distinction to be drawn between the different pressures and their spatial extent. This will assist the successful management of Marine Protected Areas that benefit both conservation interests and the future sustainability of the fishing industry.”

This week the government announced the designation of 23 new Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs), adding to the 27 designated in 2013. A third phase of MCZ designation goes to consultation in 2017.

The findings of the project and results of assessments for the three MPAs are available from the NFFO and ABPmer websites at:

http://nffo.org.uk/news/new-research-to-aid-sustainable-fisheries-management-in-marine-protected-areas.html

www.abpmer.co.uk/experience/fisheries-and-aquaculture-experience/assessing-fisheries-impacts

 

Environment

Road Trip! How to Choose the Greenest Vehicle for Your Growing Family

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Greenest Vehicle
Licensed Image by Shutterstock - By Mascha Tace -- https://www.shutterstock.com/g/maschatace

When you have a growing family, it often feels like you’re in this weird bubble that exists outside of mainstream society. Whereas everyone else seemingly has stability, your family dynamic is continuously in flux. Having said that, is it even possible to buy an eco-friendly vehicle that’s also practical?

What to Look for in a Green, Family-Friendly Vehicle?

As a single person or young couple without kids, it’s pretty easy to buy a green vehicle. Almost every leading car brand has eco-friendly options these days and you can pick from any number of options. The only problem is that most of these models don’t work if you have kids.

Whether it’s a Prius or Smart car, most green vehicles are impractical for large families. You need to look for options that are spacious, reliable, and comfortable – both for passengers and the driver.

5 Good Options

As you do your research and look for different opportunities, it’s good to have an open mind. Here are some of the greenest options for growing families:

1. 2014 Chrysler Town and Country

Vans are not only popular for the room and comfort they offer growing families, but they’re also becoming known for their fuel efficiency. For example, the 2014 Chrysler Town and Country – which was one of CarMax’s most popular minivans of 2017 – has Flex Fuel compatibility and front wheel drive. With standard features like these, you can’t do much better at this price point.

2. 2017 Chrysler Pacifica

If you’re looking for a newer van and are willing to spend a bit more, you can go with Chrysler’s other model, the Pacifica. One of the coolest features of the 2017 model is the hybrid drivetrain. It allows you to go up to 30 miles on electric, before the vehicle automatically switches over to the V6 gasoline engine. For short trips and errands, there’s nothing more eco-friendly in the minivan category.

3. 2018 Volkswagen Atlas

Who says you have to buy a minivan when you have a family? Sure, the sliding doors are nice, but there are plenty of other options that are both green and spacious. The new Volkswagen Atlas is a great choice. It’s one of the most fuel-efficient third-row vehicles on the market. The four-cylinder model gets an estimated 26 mpg highway.

4. 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid

While a minivan or SUV is ideal – and necessary if you have more than two kids – you can get away with a roomy sedan when you still have a small family. And while there are plenty of eco-friendly options in this category, the 2015 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid is arguably the biggest bang for your buck. It gets 38 mpg on the highway and is incredibly affordable.

5. 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Diesel

If money isn’t an object and you’re able to spend any amount to get a good vehicle that’s both comfortable and eco-friendly, the 2017 Land Rover Range Rover Sport Diesel is your car. Not only does it get 28 mpg highway, but it can also be equipped with a third row of seats and a diesel engine. And did we mention that this car looks sleek?

Putting it All Together

You have a variety of options. Whether you want something new or used, would prefer an SUV or minivan, or want something cheap or luxurious, there are plenty of choices on the market. The key is to do your research, remain patient, and take your time. Don’t get too married to a particular transaction, or you’ll lose your leverage.

You’ll know when the right deal comes along, and you can make a smart choice that’s functional, cost-effective, and eco-friendly.

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Environment

How Climate Change Altered this Engineer’s Life

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how climate change affect our lives
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Rawpixel.com -- https://www.shutterstock.com/g/rawpixel

Living the life of an engineer likely sounds pretty glamorous: you are educated and highly regarded, typically have high paying gigs, and with the breadth of knowledge and array of fields of specialty, your possibility for jobs is usually immense.  But what if there was something else that needed your attention? Something bigger than just being an engineer, going to work every day and doing the same technical tasks typically associated with the profession?

For Kevin McCroary, that is exactly how it played out.  A successful engineer, gainfully employed in a prosperous job, a simple trip to the Philippines made him see that there was a bigger issue at hand than using his engineer training in a traditional profession.  This bigger issue was that of climate change.  And working as a volunteer for underprivileged children in the Philippines, he saw first-hand the extensive pollution and poverty that existed here and that impacted the livelihood of these kids and their families.

Upon returning home, from his trip to the Philippines he had a new perspective of the impact we as individuals and as humanity have on the earth, and more than that Kevin wanted to know more.  He started to do some research and study these human-environmental interactions, and shortly thereafter ended up in Greenland.  There, he spoke to a man who had lost his home in a tsunami, and, who, through consistent weather tracking could indeed confirm that the current weather trends were “strange:” there was undeniably a general warming tendency happening in the arctic, causing an array of negative effects.

The combination of these observations, as well as his own research, led Kevin to conclude that something had to be done.  With that in mind, he launched his project Legend Bracelet.  The mission is simple: create a reminder of the legacy we are leaving behind.  As individuals and as humanity, we are leaving behind an imprint on the earth, and the magnitude of it is something that needs to be brought to the forefront of public awareness.  The idea is to have a bracelet that can serve as a daily reminder of the impact on the earth that each of us can have every day, regardless of how big or small.  The bracelet has two capsules: the first is filled with sand or earth, and the second is empty.  As the owner, you are to fill the empty one with your own earth, carrying it with you as a reminder and symbol of your connection and commitment to helping look after our environment.

We are all impacted by climate change, and we all have a responsibility to help.  And it can start with something as simple as putting on a bracelet.  Support Kevin on his Kickstarter campaign for Legend Bracelet, tell others about it, or take action in your own way and play your part in slowing down the effects of climate change.  You may think “but I’m just one person!” You are indeed.  But so is he.  Every change starts with one.

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