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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

4 Common Items That Can be Reused Again and Again

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reuse reduce recycle plastic bottles etc
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Vanatchanan | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/vanatchanan%20buahom

As a society we are getting much better at taking our obligations to the world and environment around us more seriously. This is undoubtedly a good thing! The effects of climate change are beginning to manifest across the world, and this is turning the issue from an abstract threat into a very real danger. Trying to introduce some greener, more eco-friendly practices into your life isn’t just a great way of doing something beneficial for society and the world around you. It is a wonderful way of engaging positively with the world and carries with it numerous psychological benefits.

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Being a greener, more ecologically friendly person doesn’t require any dramatic life changes. Breaking or making a few small habits is all it takes to make your life a greener one. In this article we look at one of the easiest, yet most effective green practices to get into: reusing everyday items.

Jars and Containers

Glass and metal are widely recycled, and recycling is a good thing! However, consider whether any containers you buy, whether it’s a tub of ice cream or a jar of coffee, can be washed out and reused for something else. Mason jars, for example, can be used to store homemade pasta sauce and can be washed for future use. Once you start thinking about it, you will find endless opportunities to reuse your old containers.

Soda Bottles

An ice-cold soda is a wonderful treat on a hot day, but buying soda can get expensive, and the manufacturing and distribution of the drinks themselves isn’t great for the environment. However, by holding on to your old soda bottles and repurposing them as water bottles, you can save money on drinks, or use them to measure out water for your garden.

Plastic Bags

Most of the time groceries come in paper bags, which are better for the environment than the plastic alternatives, but they are less durable and thus harder to reuse. Whenever the store places your items in a plastic bag, hang onto it so you can reuse the bags again. If you want to take it one step further, consider looking into buying some personalized recycled bags. These bags are designed to last for a long time and are made of recycled materials. They look striking and unique, they’ll turn heads, and maybe even attitudes!

Seeds

If you’re a keen gardener, then you will already probably know how to reseed your plants in order to ensure a fresh crop after each plant’s lifecycle. If you have space in your garden, or haven’t yet tried your hand at gardening, then consider planting a small vegetable plot. Growing your own veggies means that you’ll be helping to cut back on the emissions generated by their transport and production. The best part about growing your own food in this way is that, by harvesting properly and saving the seeds, you can be set up with fresh vegetables for life!

Reusing and recycling common household items is an easy way to make your world a little bit greener. Once you start looking for these opportunities you’ll realize that they’re everywhere!

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Environment

These 5 Green Office Mistakes Are Costing You Money

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eco-friendly green offices
Shutterstock Licensed Photo - By Stokkete | https://www.shutterstock.com/g/cyano

The sudden interest in green business is very encouraging. According to recent reports, 42% of all companies have rated sustainability as an important element of their business. Unfortunately, the focus on sustainability will only last if companies can find ways to use it to boost their ROI.

Many businesses get so caught up in being socially conscious that they hope the financial aspect of it takes care of itself. The good news is that there are plenty of ways to go green and boost your net income at the same time.

Here are some important mistakes that you will want to avoid.

Only implementing sustainability on micro-scale

The biggest reason that brands are going green is to improve their optics with their customers. Too many businesses are making very minor changes, such as processing paperwork online and calling themselves green.

Customers have become wary of these types of companies. If you want to earn their business, you are going to need to go all the way. Bring in a green business consultant and make every feasible change to demonstrate that you are a green organization from top to bottom.

Not prioritizing investments by long-term ROI

It isn’t realistic to build an entirely green organization overnight. You will need to allocate your capital wisely.

Before investing in any green assets or services, you should always conduct a long-term cost benefit analysis. The initial investment for some green services may be over $20,000. If they don’t shave your cost by at least $3,000 a year, they probably aren’t worth the investment.

Determine which green investments will have the best pay off over the next 10 years. Make these investments before anything else. Then compare your options within each of those categories.

Implementing green changes without a plan

Effective, long-term planning is the key to business success. This principle needs to be applied to green organizations as well.

Before implementing a green strategy, you must answer the following questions:

  • How will I communicate my green business philosophy to my customers?
  • How will running a green business affect my revenue stream?
  • How will adopting green business strategies change my monthly expenses? Will they increase or decrease them?
  • How will my company finance green upgrades and other investments?

The biggest mistake that too many green businesses make is being overly optimistic with these forecasts. Take the time to collect objective data and make your decisions accordingly. This will help you run a much more profitable green business.

Not considering the benefits of green printing

Too many companies believe that going paperless is the only way to run a green organization. Unfortunately, going 100% paperless it’s not feasible for most companies.

Rather than aim for an unrealistic goal, consider the option of using a more environmentally friendly printer. It won’t be perfect, but it will be better than the alternative.

According to experts from Doranix, environmental printers have several benefits:

  • They can process paper that has been completely recycled.
  • They consume less energy than traditional printers.
  • They use ink that is more environmentally friendly.

You want to take a look at different green printers and compare them. You’ll find that some will meet your needs as a green business.

Poorly communicating your green business strategy to customers

Brand positioning doesn’t happen on its own. If you want to run a successful green business, you must communicate your message to customers as clearly as possible. You must also avoid the appearance that you are patronizing them.

The best approach is to be clear when you were first making the change. I’ll make an announcement about your company‘s commitment to sustainability.

You also want to reinforce this message overtime by using green labels on all of your products. You don’t have to be blatant with your messaging at this stage. Simply provide a small, daily reminder on your products and invoices.

Finally, it is a good idea to participate in green business seminars and other events. If your community has a local Green Chamber of Commerce, you should consider joining as well.

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