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Oceana’s First North Sea Expedition Finds Threat To Marine Life

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No escape by Derek Keats via Flickr

The results from the two-month, at-sea study will be used to strengthen marine protection in the region.

Oceana has today completed its first-ever expedition in the North Sea, during which marine scientists have surveyed waters of the Netherlands, United Kingdom, Norway and Denmark, on-board the MV Neptune. Since the expedition launch two months ago, Oceana has covered almost 2000 nautical miles and documented up to 700 species in 13 areas of interest, some of which had previously been little studied. Data from 73 dives were gathered via a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), which had never before been used in some of the areas, by professional SCUBA divers, and by nearly 200 grab samples of fauna from the seabed.

Oceana has documented high biodiversity in many of the areas that were characterised by sensitive habitats, such as gorgonians, Sabellaria reefs, and stone reefs. Other areas were observed to be heavily disturbed by human activities, with evidence of bottom trawling, discarded or ‘ghost’ fishing nets, and extensive infrastructure such as oil platforms, cables, pipelines, and wind farms.

“The North Sea is one of the most industrialised and disturbed seas in the world. Many fragile habitats have already been lost or seriously degraded, and with them, the life that they supported. But there is hope! Oceana’s scientists also found areas of the North Sea that are full of life, and should be protected. A carefully planned, well-managed network of marine protected areas will greatly benefit not only biodiversity protection but also support fish stock recovery,” explained Lasse Gustavsson, Executive Director of Oceana in Europe.

Nearly half of fish stocks in the North Sea are overfished and the need to rebuild stocks is one of the biggest challenges faced by North Sea coastal countries. Oceana’s preliminary findings have indicated certain areas where protection may be important for helping stock recovery. For example, five areas surveyed by Oceana in Dutch waters seem to provide important habitat for a wide range of commercial species, like flatfishes and Norway lobster. Similarly, stone reefs surveyed in Danish waters appear to serve as feeding areas for young cod.

The new evidence gathered about the biological importance of sites will form the basis of proposals to establish or enlarge marine protected areas (MPAs) and strengthen their management. Data will also be shared with national authorities, scientists, and other organisations, to support broader efforts to protect the North Sea. Oceana is promoting the establishment of a coherent network of North Sea MPAs that will preserve biodiversity and help to restore depleted fish stocks, thereby also helping to create jobs in the fishing industry and supply more healthy food to consumers.

The expedition was made possible thanks to generous funding by the Dutch Postcode Lottery.

Oceana has carried out this work in consultation with local authorities, scientists, and NGOs from each of the four countries, and in collaboration with the Dutch conservation organisation, the Anemoon Foundation, as a guest partner.

Environment

Extra-Mile Water Conservation Efforts Amidst Shortage

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water conserving

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.

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Environment

Cyprus is the Forerunner for Ecotourism

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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 .

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