silent seas. Marine. Conservation. Society. MCS. Marine Conservation Society.
Wolf Business Park, Alton Road. Ross-on-Wye, Herefordshire, HR9 5NB.
Marine Conservation Society Overross House, Ross Park, Ross-on-Wye,Herefordshire,HR97US Tel: 01989 566017 Fax: 01989 567815 E-mail: [email protected]
MCS President: HRH The Prince of Wales Registered charity no: (England & Wales): 1004005 Registered charity no (Scotland): SCO37480 Company limited by guarantee no: 2550966 Printed on Greencoat Plus Velvet which is FSC and NAPM certiﬁed and made from 80% recycled postconsumer ﬁbre, 10% TCF (Totally Chlorine Free) virgin ﬁbre and 10% ECF (Elemental Chlorine Free) ﬁbre
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Planet Ocean “ I don’t think anybody can fail to have an emotional response to the oceans. It’s imperative that we continue to look after our seas.
If we do so they will continue to provide the oxygen that we breathe and food for us to eat, but perhaps more importantly they will remain a source of fascination and excitement for generations to come.
Alastair Fothergill Producer & Director, including BBC’s Blue Planet, Planet Earth and Life in the Freezer
For 25 years MCS has been a voice for the sea - for all the fascinating creatures that live beneath the waves, for our breathtaking coastal environment, for all those who want to make a sustainable livelihood from our seas, for those who feel at peace when they stare at the horizon from a boat or a cliﬀtop, for those who love to run squealing into the freezing waves. 3
At some point in most of our lives, the sea has worked its magic on us. We need not search far to recall all the details of an unforgettable windswept beach, a seaside resort or a delicious seafood meal with family and friends. We gain so much from the sea - food, energy, wellbeing, fun - yet it seems our seas are not gaining much from us in return. Beach litter levels are on the rise, ﬁsh stocks are over exploited and vulnerable species are being squeezed out as the pressure is on to take more and more from the ocean. Only 0.0008% percent of UK seas is fully protected. The time has come for all of us to do what we can to turn the tide. This is a time for our seas.
I really believe the key thing that people should do is spend more time by, on or in the sea because that way they can begin to understand why it is so special and why marine conservation is so important. It makes the job of anyone involved in conservation that much easier because once someone has experienced how special our sea is, they will think twice about dropping litter on the beach, or ﬂushing plastic cotton buds down the loo. Then of course, they can begin to give some thought to the ﬁsh they eat: be adventurous in their choice of ﬁsh, but make sure it is local and sustainable.
Kate Humble TV presenter and MCS Supporter
The sea belongs to all of us
a voice for our seas The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) has been the voice for our seas, shores and wildlife for 25 years.
Sustainable ﬁsheries Helping consumers to choose sustainably caught ﬁsh with distribution of over quarter of a million pocket Good Fish Guides and a highly acclaimed online resource for sustainable seafood: www.ﬁshonline.org.
MCS champions a vision of sustainable ﬁsheries, marine life protection and clean seas and beaches. Our achievements include:
Clean seas and beaches
Marine life protection Advising the nation’s major supermarkets on sustainable seafood sourcing, resulting in the removal from sale of threatened or unsustainably caught ﬁsh.
Gaining vital protection for the basking shark under the Wildlife & Countryside Act following a 10-year campaign. Campaigning for UK and Scottish Marine Acts to allow designation of marine reserves and a more sustainable future for our seas.
Championing the call for marine reserves to set aside areas where marine life is protected from damaging activities and where ﬁsheries can recover.
Involving over 20,000 volunteers in clearing litter from UK beaches, removing tens of thousands of tonnes of rubbish directly from habitats where it can kill wildlife due to entanglement or starvation.
Turning the tide on sewage pollution through the Good Beach Guide – a key driving force behind major improvements in bathing water quality around the UK.
Silent Seas deliberately echoes Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring”. In 1962 Rachel envisioned a spring where birds did not sing. Now, in 2008, the Marine Conservation Society forsees a world where extinctions at sea begin to rise and the ecosystem starts to fail.
‘Little Golden Balls’
DIY Household flood defence explained p 24
the sentinel weekend edition
An eerie silence at sea Cliff faces around the UK fall silent as seabird numbers crash Bobby Bird London
For many years experts have been warning that the UK’s seabird populations are in dire straits. But warnings have gone unheeded and the summer of 2033 is the worst since records began. At many rookeries, such as the world famous Bempton Cliffs in Yorkshire the gannets and terns did not even return to breed. Alarm bells began to sound as far back as 2004 when sandeels, the primary prey items of seabirds started disappearing. At that time parent birds still visited the colonies to lay eggs but were unable to ﬁnd enough sandeels to feed their chicks. Hence many chicks died before they left the nest.
Species once common around the UK are now rare. Recently scientists from the UK’s Centre for the Marine Environment have been able to show that the disap-
Silent Seas is about the great environmental threat of this century – the systematic decline in the state of our seas. Instead of seas teaming with ﬁsh and dolphins, we anticipate that without action the seas may become ﬁlled with algae and jellyﬁsh, falling largely silent and denuded of life.
Surviving the storms
Brooklyn Beckham talks about growing up with the worlds’ best football coach in Weekend Spor t £20 Saturday 11.09.2033 Published in London and Manchester sentinel.co.someday
silent seas Too many ﬁsh are being taken from the sea
Too little is being done to protect our precious marine wildlife and habitats
Too much rubbish is being thrown into the sea
In addition, human induced climate change is likely to have profound eﬀects on our marine ecosystems. Now, more than ever, the oceans and their wildlife need our help if they are to survive. Silent Seas is a wake up call and a call for action. MCS will give a voice to everyone who, like us, believes we can and must all play a part to ensure our blue planet never falls silent or still.
With fishing pressure and marine litter at record levels
pearance of the sandeels in 2004 was related to a ‘regime shift’ in the North Sea, caused by changing climate. But a more recent threat has reduced the vulnerable populations still further. As the birds are forced to roam ever further in search of food supplies, they are vulnerable to ingesting ﬂoat-
- seabirds are facing an unprecedented threat.
ing plastic or becoming entangled in it. A spokesman at the Marine Management Organisation conﬁrmed that the amount of plastic debris ﬂoating in the sea has increased by over 500% since the early part of the century. Birds like gannets will make use of
whatever nesting material is available and in some areas this means that nests are almost wholly constructed from plastic debris. It is not uncommon for chicks to become entangled in the nest and die as they are abandoned by parent birds that cannot feed them indeﬁnitely.
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NCE 1900 ALL ABOUT FISHING SI
3 £15 23 Dec 2033 / 31 Dec 203
T F O T S E W O L M O R F LAST BOAT
rant After supporting a vib turies cen for ry ust ind ﬁshing lly ﬁna oft est the port of Low sel saw its last ﬁshing ves yard depart for the breaker’s last Thursday.
hered The local community gat , grey in the harbour on a wet the December morning to bid can’t ‘Last Hope’ farewell. “I Pauline believe it’s all over” said er’s mb me w cre a , Henderson d here for wife. “My family has live ve always over 100 years and we’ .” ing ﬁsh been involved in
arture of kside to mark the dep a silent vigil on the doc ed . join UK oft the est in ts Low of por The community of the most important m what was once one fro t boa ing ﬁsh t las the
a long Lowestoft is the latest in ess the list of British ports to witn bours Har t. ﬂee ir the of ise dem now that were once alive are the silent except for gulls and no ms see “It s. rist tou of chatter or our one really cares about us . way of life” says Pauline EU the Governments across uce red to king wor n bee have 0’s in an their ﬂeets since the 199 able attempt to achieve sustain this and s ion irat asp ent managem e been
The result? The European Commission now considers that 88% of EU stocks are overﬁshed compared with only 25% on average globally. Fish landings have declined and the size of the individual ﬁsh has reduced dramatically as well. The loss of the big ﬁsh is bad news: big ﬁsh produce many times more oﬀspring than small ones so they are vital to sustaining healthy populations in the sea. Some types of ﬁshing can be especially harmful. It is well known that trawls can destroy seaﬂoor wildlife such as corals, bryozoans and sea urchins, but trawls are also unselective in what they catch. In the sea, ﬁsh frequently live as a mixed community and a single trawl can catch many diﬀerent species. While some of the catch is the target species, much of the remainder may be worthless and is discarded, usually in a dead or dying condition. Despite the dwindling wild stocks our demand for ﬁsh continues to grow and one solution to this mismatch of supply and demand is to farm ﬁsh in a process know as aquaculture. Surprising though it may seem, farming ﬁsh relies on healthy, diverse and productive seas to be successful. All carnivorous ﬁsh such as salmon, and farmed crustaceans such as warm water prawn rely on wild ﬁsh to make their feed. At the moment it can take on average 3kg of wild ﬁsh to produce 1kg of farmed salmon – a net loss in ocean biomass.
The perception-changing moment for the oceans has arrived. It comes from the realisation that in a single human lifetime we have inﬂicted a crisis on the oceans greater than any yet caused by pollution. That crisis compares with the destruction of mammoths, bison and whales, the rape of rainforests and the pursuit of bush meat. It is caused by overﬁshing.
Charles Clover The End of the Line1
sustainable ﬁsheries or end of the line? L L A H C T A C
Our ﬁsheries were once thought to be inexhaustible. But during the last 150 years the original sail boat has been superseded by increasingly high tech ﬁshing practices which allow us to ﬁsh more eﬃciently, in deeper and previously inaccessible waters, for longer periods of time and increasingly farther aﬁeld.
When Stanhope Forbes painted ‘A Fish Sale on a Cornish Beach’ in 1885 he accurately captured the everyday lives of the local community. His painting shows that the ﬁshing boats of the time are sail powered, and that large and immediately recognisable ﬁsh such as cod, halibut and common skate could be caught by these vessels working relatively close inshore.
In 2008, only 8 stocks out of a total of 47 around the British Isles are known to be in a healthy state.2
Many of these species are now comparative rarities, with Atlantic halibut and common skate both listed as endangered species.
Since the time of the sailboats, the ﬁshing industry has undergone a continuous process of technological advancement. Historically much of this technology has been developed to improve catches but with little consideration of environmental impact. The improvements have, over the years, allowed ﬁshing to take place more eﬃciently and in ever more remote areas. However, the geographical expansion has masked the depletion of once fertile ﬁshing grounds close to our coasts.
The average ﬁshing boat of today is estimated to be 50 to 200 times more eﬀective than the ﬁshing boats of Stanhope Forbes’ day.3
‘A Fish Sale on a Cornish Beach’, 1885 By Stanhope A. Forbes RA (1857-1947) Collection: Plymouth City Museum & Art Gallery Photo: © Plymouth City Museum & Art Gallery
Big ﬁsh produce many times more oﬀspring than small ones so they are vital to sustaining healthy populations in the sea. There is little chance of recovery while most ﬁsh get taken before they have had a chance to reproduce.
Over time, intensive ﬁshing has reduced the numbers of big, old, fat ﬁsh. What would in 1900 have been almost too small to bother with is now all that is on oﬀer.
North Sea cod have begun to spawn at an earlier age in response to pressure from ﬁshing.4 The biomass of cod in the North Sea has fallen from over 250,000 tons in 1970 to just 37,000 tons in 2007.5
Professor Callum Roberts University of York
The loss of the big ﬁsh is bad news for the survival of ﬁsh in the wild.
A hundred years ago, a large plaice was a grand beast. A ﬁsh had to be 50 to 60 cm long and weigh 1.5 to 2kg to be considered big. Today plaice ﬁllets are sold as ‘large’ when they weigh just 125 grams and come from ﬁsh less than 34 cm long. Fish this size are immature and have never had a chance to breed.
Trawls scrape and plough the seaﬂoor, and in so doing they damage seaﬂoor wildlife. Industrial trawling has been implicated in approximately 140,000km2 of damage over the entire North Sea.7
The way we catch ﬁsh can kill far more ﬁsh than we actually use. Some ﬁshing gears, such as trawls that are dragged over the seaﬂoor, are not very selective in what they catch. The catch often includes ﬁsh for which the boat has no quota, or ﬁsh that are too small to land legally. These dead or dying ﬁsh are wastefully discarded back into the sea.
Between 5 and 65% of marine invertebrates living in or on the sediment perish when they are run over by a trawl.8 It has been estimated that for every kilogramme of North Sea sole caught by beam trawl, up to 14kg of other seabed animals are killed.9 Undamaged seaﬂoor communities provide food and shelter for ﬁsh and are therefore essential to the future viability of the ﬁshery.
The estimated cost, in terms of future catch, of discarding unwanted ﬁsh in the UK is over 40% of the total annual landed value of the ﬁshery.6
There is a rising global demand for ﬁsh, but traditional capture ﬁsheries have reached their maximum production levels.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation estimates that by 2030 an additional 37 million tonnes of ﬁsh per year will be needed to maintain current levels of ﬁsh consumption for an expanded world population.10 Fish farming - known as aquaculture - represents one way to ﬁll the gap.
£5 STILL ONLY
£5 CHEAPER THAN THE DAILY POST AND 100 TIMES BETTER
THE EX FACTOR
WILD ANIMALS ARE VANISHING FROM UK SEAS
SEE PAGE THREE
Not enough ﬁsh in the sea
FRESH FISH are changing hands for huge sums of money and seafood has become something that only the rich can afford. From supermarkets to ﬁsh and chip shops there’s just not enough to go round!
Seafood is a traditional part of the Great British Diet. But some of the nation’s favourites are off the menu. Experts have been warning of a seafood crash for decades and now that it’s come some say we are powerless to do anything about it. Steven Barnes of ﬁsh monitoring agency FishEye said: “This is a complete disaster and there is absolutely nothing recovery is almost impossible. anyone can do about it.” It has become extremely It seems that once the number of difﬁcult for a ﬁsherman to make ﬁsh reaches a critically low level, a living at sea. A fe
It currently takes an average of 3kg of wild caught ﬁsh to produce 1kg of farmed salmon.
Today, 45% of all ﬁsh consumed by humans - 48 million tonnes in all - is raised on farms.10 Strange though it may seem, the successful farming of species such as salmon and cod depends on healthy marine ecosystems. This is because most species of farmed ﬁsh are carnivorous, and require a proportion of wild caught ﬁsh in their diet in order to remain healthy.
18 struggle on but with such slim pickings it is barely worth their while.
British ﬁshing ﬂeet was competing with the best in Europe, but now it is a shadow of
ﬁshing for solutions Involving people in our ﬁght for ocean recovery has been at the core of MCS success throughout its 25-year journey and continues to be a key driver for change. Silent Seas is a call for action from Government, industry and individuals.
MCS will give a voice to everyone who like us, believes we can and must all play a part in protecting ﬁsh stocks, livelihoods and marine life to achieve sustainable ﬁsheries.
MCS calls on Governments to:
MCS calls on everyone to:
Introduce an ecosystem based approach to ﬁsheries management which follows the precautionary principle, and move away from single-species based ﬁsheries management. Shift away from current quota-based methods of ﬁsheries management and towards eﬀort-based schemes (e.g. restrictions on licences, days at sea, ﬁshing gear types and size, engine power), particularly for mixed species and demersal ﬁsheries. Extend the use of spatial and temporal closures to protect biologically important areas such as spawning and nursery grounds and delicate seaﬂoor habitats. Fund research and provide incentives for selective ﬁshing practices to reduce habitat damage and capture of non target species. Make progressive changes in ﬁsheries legislation towards a ban on discarding of commercial species of ﬁsh and shellﬁsh.
MCS calls on industry to: Embrace development and application of new ﬁshing practices that reduce environmental damage and support recovery of ﬁsh stocks and productivity. Adopt seafood sourcing policies in the retail and catering sector that avoid ﬁsh and shellﬁsh from vulnerable, depleted or unmanaged stocks, and avoid capture methods that result in signiﬁcant bycatch or damage to marine habitats. Adopt sustainable ﬁsh-farming practices that minimise damage to local wildlife, habitats and landscapes from pollution or poor siting; utilise the best sustainable feed options available; and protect wild salmonid stocks from disease and escapes associated with farmed ﬁsh.
Make environmentally sustainable choices when buying ﬁsh and shellﬁsh – avoiding those that are under pressure in favour of those from healthy well-managed stocks, caught using the most selective methods, or farmed to high environmental and sustainable standards.
MCS will inform
retailers, restaurateurs and consumers on the sustainability of wild caught ﬁsh, farmed ﬁsh and shellﬁsh and promote the most environmentally friendly seafood choices. Sustainable seafood guidance will be made freely available both online at www.ﬁshonline.org and in the Pocket Good Fish Guide with lists of ‘ﬁsh to eat’ and ‘ﬁsh to avoid’.
MCS will involve
and liase with the retail, ﬁshing and aquaculture industries to promote ﬁsheries and ﬁsh farms that adopt more sustainable practices, through www. ﬁshonline.org and the Sustainable Seafood Directory.
MCS will inﬂuence
Government and ﬁsheries managers to take the bold steps needed to protect vulnerable commercial and recreational stocks from over-ﬁshing and protect nontarget species and habitats from damage.