Thanks to previous campaigns and public support, The South West is home to multiple Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs). North Devon includes; Bideford to Foreland Point, Hartland Point to Tintagel, Morte Point, Lundy and North West of Lundy.
NDMP is passionate about supporting sites like these with zero impact sailing. New technologies, methods and research give these vital ecosystems the best chance of recovery.
We sail to inspire young and old, on land and at sea to connect with the ocean.
Lundy Island; George Symes-Davidson
We know we have a massive ocean plastic issue and it is having a devastating impact on marine life. Every piece of plastic waste you see fluttering in a tree or at the side of the road, if it is not collected, it will find its way to a stream, then a river and then the ocean.
It can become so fragmented it ultimately becomes microplastic and enters the food chain. This includes our food chain. One of our founder project friends had her blood tested after 10 years at sea only to find trace elements of 29 of the 35 chemicals banned by the United Nations due to their toxicity in her bloodstream.
The issues are upstream.
As ambassadors for the 5Gyres institution, we follow their protocol for data collection and analysis of plastic pollution. Using our Manta Trawl we sieve the samples and document them into classes of waste and sizes. The analysis from each collection provides insight as to the source. From now until 2030 we are trawling zones in the Celtic Sea and Bristol Channel to find out what pollution travels on our daily tides, and whether it is improving or worsening.
An area of specific interest are the waters within the Biosphere reserve. The Bristol Channel has the second highest tidal range in the world, over ten metres in North Devon. This offers a unique insight along with specific challenges. We are looking for what directly impacts our local marine world, from the local towns to the big cities all along the North and South coasts of the Channel. Our aim is to understand the changes over the next ten years.
This data program is part of a global network of like-minded individuals who want to take action against plastic pollution. We share and collaborate on research, policies and solutions. With growing numbers of groups and organisations fighting the cause, there is now significant progress being made. Data collected locally can be applied locally, inspiring targeted discussions that lead to positive action on land and water.
The North Devon Marine Project joins forces with Plastic Free North Devon to conduct a marine science survey on microplastics in the waters at Ilfracombe Harbour beach. We were also joined by the North Devon Biosphere and British Divers Marine Life Rescue to help raise awareness for ocean literacy and conservation in our local area, promoting citizen science through local volunteers.
Seagrass is perhaps one of the most understated and overlooked 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 as our food source.
Seagrass is, however, 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 numerous seagrass sites throughout the South West, Our research vessel and her crew on their leave no trace sailing campaign assist and monitor these critical sites development.
Seagrass; Ocean Conservation Trust
British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) was formed in 1988, when a few like-minded divers got together in response to a mass mortality of common seals in the Wash area of East Anglia, to do what they could for the rescue effort in response to the Phocine Distemper Virus epidemic that resulted in thousands of deaths.
Since 1988, BDMLR has been involved in the rescue of marine wildlife after every major marine disaster, including the Braer shipwreck in Shetland, the Sea Empress grounding in Milford Haven, and the Napoli shipwreck in Dorset. BDMLR are available throughout the UK, responding to injuries, abandonment and disentanglement of marine mammals as well as operating facilities such as their new seal sanctuary in Cornwall.
How you can help
We are qualified medics, if you find a seal, dolphin, whale or other marine life stranded or in distress, please help by keeping yours and others distance and calling the RESCUE HOTLINE on 01825 765546. BDMLR medics will arrive on scene to help. You can learn more about their incredible work by clicking on their logo.
Ghost nets, or ghost gear, refers to lost or discarded fishing gear (lost or discarded fishing gear including line, nets and pots). 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 150,000 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 (GPS / What Three Words) and any images that may help our search. The crew at NDMP might be able to retrieve the debris before it causes harm, if we can find it quickly enough. The issue with ghost nets or gear is the danger of wildlife become entangled, potentially leading to fatalities.
It's import you don't attempt to remove the debris yourself; nets can be weighted and heavy, anchored to rock etc and lines could have hooks or other dangerous debris caught within. If you find ghost gear, please call the REMOVAL HOTLINE on 07836 205 762
The sooner it's called in, and with an exact location, the sooner it can be secured and retrieved. It's all upcycled! From Sunglasses to Kayaks, companies right here in Devon and Cornwall make use of it, so please call it in!
Ghost netting: Jade Powis
Based from within the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth, the OCT are working tirelessly on projects globally to protect our Ocean. You can lean more about marine science and wildlife, as well as seagrass restoration and Ocean optimism, by clicking the links below.
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North Devon Marine are proud to support SHiFT, created by Emily Penn, ocean advocate and eXXpedition Co-Founder. The SHiFT method is designed to help people find their role in solving the world’s most pressing issues.
For Emily, that shift led her from a career in architecture to one dedicated to solving the issue of ocean plastic pollution. The more time Emily spent at sea, the more she realised the solutions start on land.
Through her workshops, curated experiences and sailing expeditions, she’s worked with individuals, businesses and governments around the world to develop solutions, from sea to source.
She developed the SHiFT method, which is a journey of discovery to understand the crux of a problem and weigh up where we have the biggest opportunity to make an impact.
Find hundreds of solutions to plastic pollution at www.shift.how