World Animal Protection UK have commissioned the first ever assessment of the affects that ghost fishing gear is having on the coastline of Cornwall and threat it poses to marine life.
A key finding of the research is that when interaction and entanglement risks were combined, 26% of all ghost gear items recorded posed a serious threat to marine animals.
Abandoned and lost fishing gear, known as ghost gear, encompasses lines, nets, pots and ropes which are a huge threat to marine animals and coastal wildlife. Entanglement in ghost fishing gear causes huge suffering to animals and in many cases leads to a painful death. Ghost gear is known to travel long distances along ocean currents, with lost gear from the USA and Newfoundland being spotted on beaches across the UK.
A total of 4226 new ghost gear items were recorded by volunteers on land and by World Animal Protection funded boat-based surveys during the 12 month study period, amounting to 49,917 litres or 51 tonnes from 147 different locations. 30 tonnes can equate to the size of a 45ft sperm whale. The researchers were able to remove 14 tonnes of ghost gear during their research, reducing the immediate risk to marine animals in the area, particularly to seals (risk dropped from 47% to 24%).
The work was undertaken by Cornwall Seal Group Research Trust to support World Animal Protection’s Sea Change campaign and explored the severity of the ghost gear problem in Cornwall by looking at:
- The types and amount (volume and number of items) of ghost gear present along the coastline of Cornwall
- The spatial extent of, and seasonal changes in, ghost gear along the coast
- An assessment of the interaction and entanglement risks posed to marine animals
The research is a snapshot of the problem in UK waters and World Animal Protection are hoping this research inspires other researchers to undertake similar projects in their regions to build a more accurate global picture of the issue.
Risks to animals from all new ghost gear recorded
(likelihood of animals interacting with ghost gear)
- 40% of items identified posed an interaction risk.
- At established seal sites 82% (by items) posed an interaction risk to seals.
- Monofilament line, all types of net and pots posed the greatest risk to marine animals.
(likelihood of animals becoming entangled in ghost gear)
- 58% of items identified posed entanglement risks
- At established seal sites entanglement risks decreased to 54% (possibly because many items at seal sites were buoys and floats, posing a small entanglement risk specifically to seals).
- All types of net, line, rope and pots posed the greatest risk to marine animals.
Ghost gear directly affected 52 individual creatures from at least 12 different species which were recorded as entangled.
Data was collected between November 2014 and October 2015, along Cornwall’s entire coastline.
Boat based surveys
For each boat survey approximately 3000 photographs were taken and each item of ghost gear seen either in the field or from photos was recorded. Data included the number of ghost gear items, the type of ghost gear (for example buoys, floats, line, monofilament net, pots, rope, rubber or other), the length and/or volume of the material, whether the item had been previously reported and if it was removed.
A total of 1398 ‘new’ ghost gear items were recorded. This amounted to 19560 litres or 20 tonnes from 46 locations across the Cornwall coastline. On average this amounted to 26 new items a week, over the course of the year.
Land based surveys
A total of 360 surveys recorded 2828 ghost gear items were recorded by volunteers amounting to 30,352 litres or 30 tonnes from 147 different locations. This represented 54 new items being washed in each week.
Ghost gear is a trans-boundary problem, and it’s essential that efforts to address it are undertaken collaboratively across countries.
Campaign Manager at World Animal Protection, Christina Dixon, said:
“While this research was being conducted we saw lobster pot tags travelling 3,000 miles from Newfoundland to Shetland and pieces of gear hitching a ride on the Gulf Stream from Canada to Cornwall but the lack of research meant finding the right solutions was a real challenge. Ghost gear is a trans-boundary problem, and it’s essential that efforts to address it are undertaken collaboratively across countries. We hope this study can be used as a model for other researchers to get a better idea of the impact of ghost gear in different regions.”
Sue Sayer from Cornwall Seal Group said:
“CSGRT were delighted with the huge effort volunteers contributed to this project. They were motivated by our desire to collect data and knowing that their information would be shared with World Animal Protection who would publicise this issue across a wide international audience enabling cross boundary solutions to be found. We all want to make a difference to reduce the suffering we witnessed during the project as along with partner organisations we rescued a live entangled sea bird being buffeted by waves whilst trapped in a gill net as well as rescuing entangled seals, one of which was choking itself as the net dragged under its body on a beach. We learned that even removing a small looped bit of net can save a marine creatures life and that together we can actually make a difference.”
Reference materials: Case summary of report and graphics illustrating the presence of varying ghost gear along the coastline. Please request the full report if required from: firstname.lastname@example.org 020 7239 0632 / 07814 695 298
Extra-Mile Water Conservation Efforts Amidst Shortage
While some states are literally flooding due to heavy rains and run-off, others are struggling to get the moisture they need. States like Arizona and California have faced water emergencies for the last few years; water conserving efforts from citizens help keep them out of trouble.
If your area is experiencing a water shortage, there are a few things you can do to go the extra mile.
Repair and Maintain Appliances
Leaks around the house – think showerheads, toilets, dishwashers, and more – lead to wasted water. Beyond that, the constant flow of water will cause water damage to your floors and walls. Have repairs done as soon as you spot any problems.
Sometimes, a leak won’t be evident until it gets bad. For that reason, make appointments to have your appliances inspected and maintained at least once per year. This will extend the life of each machine as well as nip water loss in the bud.
When your appliances are beyond repair, look into Energy Star rated replacements. They’re designed to use the least amount of water and energy possible, without compromising on effectiveness.
Only Run Dishwasher and Washer When Full
It might be easier to do a load of laundry a day rather than doing it once per week, but you’ll waste a lot more water this way. Save up your piles of clothes until you have enough to fully load the washing machine. You could also invest in a washing machine that senses the volume of water needed according to the volume of clothes.
The same thing goes with the dishwasher. Don’t push start until you’ve filled it to capacity. If you have to wash dishes, don’t run the water while you’re washing. Fill the sink or a small bowl a quarter of the way full and use this to wash your dishes.
Recycle Water in Your Yard
Growing a garden in your backyard is a great way to cut down on energy and water waste from food growers and manufacturers, but it will require a lot more water on your part. Gardens must be watered, and this often leads to waste.
You can reduce this waste by participating in water recycling. Using things like a rain barrel, pebble filtering system, and other tools, you can save thousands of gallons a year and still keep your landscaping and garden beautiful and healthy.
Landscape with Drought-Resistant Plants
Recycling water in your yard is a great way to reduce your usage, but you can do even more by reducing the amount of water required to keep your yard looking great. The best drought-resistant plants are those that are native to the area. In California, for example, succulents grow very well, and varieties of cactus do well in states like Arizona or Texas.
Install Water-Saving Features
The average American household uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water every single day. You obviously can’t cut out things like showering or using the toilet, but you can install a few water-saving tools to make your water use more efficient.
There are low-flow showerheads, toilets, and faucet aerators. You could also use automatic shut-off nozzles, shower timers, and grey water diverters. Any of these water saving devices can easily cut your water usage in half.
Research Laws and Ordinances for Your City
Dry states like California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada must create certain laws to keep the water from running out. These laws are put into practice for the benefit of everyone, but they only work if you abide by the laws.
If you live in a state where drought is common, research your state and city’s laws. They might designate one day per week that you’re allowed to water your lawn or how full you can fill a pool. Many people are not well versed in the laws set by their states, and it would mean a lot to your community if you did your part.
Cyprus is the Forerunner for Ecotourism
When I was looking for a second citizenship, I happened to see One Visa’s offer on Cyprus Citizenship by investment program. I had heard about Cyprus being a beautiful country, but I did not know much else, so I decided to start my own research about this gem of a place.
After I did some research, I discovered that Cyprus is a popular destination for tourists. Unfortunately, heavy tourism and the associated development affected villages here and there, with some communities being slowly abandoned. To avoid this from happening any further, Cyprus went into ecotourism, and today, it is the forerunner in this arena. Let’s look in further detail at ecotourism in Cyprus here.
How was it started?
It all started in 2006 with the launch of the “Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative.” This program has the sole scope of promoting ecotourism developments in the tourism industry. It concentrates on those areas which require conservation and environmental safety. At the same time, it helps develop social, as well as economic statuses in the rural parts of Cyprus. Through this program, the government was able to acknowledge that ecotourism will play an essential role in the future of Cyprus, with the concept gaining momentum among tourists from all over the globe.
How to go about it?
So, now you are interested in going for an ecotourism vacation in Cyprus. How will you go about it? I would immediately say that everyone should visit the quaint Cypriot villages spread throughout the island. These communities have a smaller population, and not many tourists visit. They make for a great relaxing spot. Enjoy seeing the bustle of village life go by where simple pleasures abound. Most hamlets are linked by specific minibus tours which ferry tourists to these havens. These trips will have a regular schedule, aimed at promoting ecotourism further. Such tours will be regulated to ensure that while the villages can benefit and develop, they do not get overpopulated or overcrowded with tourists. Therefore, you can be sure to enjoy the beautiful sceneries that nature has to offer here.
If you are wondering if there are any activities to do here, my answer would be: “Yes, plenty.” You can go for some guided walks across various regions here. Here you will be able to explore the diversified natural beauty and wildlife of the area. Several agritourism activities and services are planned to open shortly. Once launched, you will be able to engage in picking olives, milking goats, and several other such events here.
What can be learned?
Although we are aware that natural resources need to be preserved, we do not always remember it in real life. When we go on tours such as these, we can realize the significance of protecting nature. Also, when more and more people visit these places, the concept of ecotourism will become popular among more people. Awareness about ecotourism is set to grow and spread throughout the world. Subsequently, sustainable tourism will gain popularity around the globe with Cyprus being the forerunner for ecotourism .