uk tagged posts

Dolphins, whales and seals not protected by UK 

Seeing dolphins and whales in the sea enjoying their natural environment is a dream for most animal lovers. But a new report by MPs has found some marine wildlife is being failed by the UK government. Protections for these species are poorer compared to other countries, the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee (Efra) found. Some of the threats to these animals includes underwater noise, pollution in the water and climate change.

But these creatures play a key role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem and help support economies which rely on coastal tourism.

The findings come as government efforts to scale up climate action have been described as “worryingly slow” by government watchdog, the Climate Change Committee.

Politicians on the Efra committee have suggested the UK ...

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Dolphins exposed to ‘cocktail of pollutants’ in English Channel

Dolphins living in the English Channel are exposed to a “cocktail of pollutants”, say scientists. A study found some of the highest recorded levels of toxic chemicals and mercury in the bodies of bottlenose dolphins off the French coast.

Researchers say more needs to be done to tackle the “invisible” problem of lingering pollutants in the oceans.

The Channel is home to one of the last remaining large European populations of bottlenose dolphins.

Researchers took tissue samples from more than 80 dolphins living in waters off Normandy and Brittany.

They found high concentrations of mercury in skin and polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, in blubber.

Other industrial chemicals, such as dioxins and pesticides, were also found in blubber samples, which together may act as a “cocktail of pollutan...

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UK gains 41 new Marine Conservation Zones

The Wildlife Trusts has welcomed the news that the Government is designating a third phase of 41 new Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs). This historic move will help protect the seas around our shores and follows on from previous announcements of 50 MCZs (in 2013 and 2016). It is the third of three phases promised by the Government in order to fulfil the remit of the Marine and Coastal Access Act. 

The 41 new MCZs are special places and include cold water corals, forests of sea fans, rocky canyons and sandbanks – an astonishingly varied range of submerged landscapes which support the stunning diversity of marine life found in the UK...

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UK takes step forward in global marine protection

Uk coastline

More than half of the UK’s global waters are set to be within Marine Protected Areas, putting the UK at the forefront of calls to protect 30 per cent of the world’s ocean by 2030.

The UK Government has backed plans by Ascension Island to designate over 150,000 square miles of its waters as a fully protected ‘no-take’ Marine Protected Area (MPA) – closing the off-shore area to any fishing activity and safeguarding important marine habitats for future generations.

When protected, the new no-take zone around Ascension Island would bring the total percentage of MPAs in the UK’s territorial waters, Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies to over 50%...

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UK Government’s promise to protect UK seas a ‘sham’

English coastline in Devon

The UK government’s promise to protect Britain’s coastal waters has been called a “sham” by a leading ocean scientist. Professor Callum Roberts of York University told Sky News that Britain’s so-called marine protected areas (MPAs) are just “lines on a map” and do little to safeguard wildlife.

He said allowing continued commercial exploitation, such as fishing, drilling and dredging, is “no protection at all.”

Sky’s Ocean Rescue is working with WWF to safeguard marine conservation zones across Europe. Plastic pollution, climate change and over-fishing have put the ocean under unprecedented pressure.

Sky News will be closely following United Nations oceans campaigner Lewis Pugh as he swims the length of the English Channel to highlight the plight of the UK’s domestic waters.

There are ...

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UK’s chatty fish to be recorded


The seas around Britain may be getting so noisy that fish species like cod and haddock now have some difficulty communicating with each other. And if their chatter is being obscured, it could hamper their ability to breed. Steve Simpson and colleagues are testing the idea by dragging hydrophones through coastal waters to record the marine soundscape.

It has long been recognised that large marine mammals are susceptible to noise pollution – as are coral reef fish.

But the new study intends to understand the impacts on some more familiar UK fish species.

“Cod particularly have very elaborate calls compared with many fish,” the University of Exeter professor told BBC News.

“They vibrate their swim bladder – their balloon inside them – to make sound.

“They can create a whole range of differ...

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Dismay at Barra conservation outcome

Barra Outer Hebrides

Campaigners in the Outer Hebrides have reacted with dismay after the Scottish Government announced the designation of the Sound of Barra as a marine Special Area of Conservation (mSAC). The ruling by environment minister Paul Wheelhouse means the sea and sandbanks between Barra and South Uist will go forward to the European Commission for inclusion in plans for an EU-wide network of SACs. The move follows a recommendation for designation from Scottish Natural Heritage last November – despite local concerns about restrictions on traditional livelihoods such as fishing and lack of accountability.

Action group Southern Hebrides Against Marine Environmental Designations (SHAMED), doubted whether eco-tourism would compensate for reduced fishing revenues.

Chairman Angus MacLeod said from his ...

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