Thanks to previous campaigns and public support, North Devon is home to multiple Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) including; Bideford to Foreland Point, Hartland Point to Tintagel, Morte Platform, Lundy and North West of Lundy. A MCZ is an area at sea that has certain restrictions to human activity in order to protect marine ecosystems.
The goal going forward is to upgrade the MCZ status to Highly Protected Marine Areas (HPMAs), which would offer the strictest protections for the marine environment. This would give the best possible chance for recovery from human impact.
Pressures such as fishing, sea angling and construction are damaging the environment, along with microplastics and pollution. A greater protected area means a brighter future for our seas. NDMP is both passionate and proud to be making waves to make a positive difference to not only our local area, but our planet.
Lundy Island; George Symes-Davidson
Ghost nets, or ghost gear, refers to lost or discarded fishing gear. The name comes from the net continuing to harm or kill wildlife, long after it's been left behind. Around 640,000 tonnes of ghost fishing gear is reportedly discarded into the ocean every year. Discarded nets, lines and other fishing industry gear becomes difficult to see once in the water, or can be misconstrued as food by some marine life.
The UK's ghost gear is the second largest source of marine debris, with over 1250 kilometres of nets being discovered in UK waters annually. Over 150,00 seals and cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises) are thought to be killed each year by ghost gear. This also extends to many species of marine birds and larger fish species such as sharks.
What if you see a net or fishing debris?
Should you spot. ghost netting please give us a call, detailing your exact location and any images that may help our search. The crew at NDMP might be able to retrieve the debris before it causes harm.
To find out more about reporting ghost gear, please visit our hotline page.
Ghost netting: Jade Powis
Seagrass is perhaps one of the most understated and overlooked vital components of our ocean’s health; it takes carbon dioxide from the ocean and then stores it within its roots and leaves. Seagrass helps to mitigate climate change by reducing acidification in the ocean. Seagrass also releases oxygen - 10 litres per 1 metre squared every day - so seagrass is literally the lungs of the ocean, the marine rainforest. Not only is it essential to slow climate change, but it provides an essential nursery for most of the fish species we rely on in the as our food source.
Seagrass is under threat from damage caused by boating, fishing and leisure activities, often due to its existence going unnoticed. In a massive restoration programme, funded by EU LIFE ReMEDIES, the Ocean Conservation Trust have been working to re-establish four hectares of seagrass at a site at Jenny Cliff, Plymouth Sound.
The North Devon Marine Project was proud to be involved in a monitoring weekend during the SailGP event 17-18th July 2021, using our two electric sailboats as a platform for the collective organisations involved to work from. Using an ROV we were able to dive beneath the surface to get a better view of the ocean floor. The seagrass site was marked with large yellow buoys with signage atop to ask that boats voluntarily anchor away from the beds. Despite it being a very busy time of year with the race very close-by, boat users, day trippers and locals were very respective of the area, giving it a great chance to restore itself and increase the likelihood of the project’s success. With the amazing array of wildlife we spotted on our ROV dive - spider crabs, jellyfish and even a conga eel - the importance of such a marine habitat could never be more prominent.
We look forward to keeping up-to-date with the site’s progress and raising awareness for a critical piece of our planet’s environment.
To find out more please visit oceanconservationtrust.org
See our video below of what it looked like to be a part of this amazing project.
Seagrass; Ocean Conservation Trust
If you'd like to know more about our work please subscribe for insight, news and events