News emerged this month that the 30 marine parks which have been proposed in Scottish waters will not ban dredging – one of the most environmentally damaging forms of commercial fishing. While these parks are designed to provide areas the marine environment can recover from intensive trawling and fish species can spawn and increase their stocks the worth of such parks will be seriously questioned if dredging can take place within them. Indeed, there have been accusations that if dredging is allowed then these zones would simply be ‘paper parks’ – lines drawn on a map which do not have any other purpose. Read more about this issue here.
This month also saw Eastbourne Pier in East Sussex – a top sea angling venue – seriously damaged by fire. At the time of writing it was unclear how the fire started, although a police investigation has been launched and arson or other foul play has not been ruled out, although it was also believed that an electrical fault could have started the fire. Around eighty fire fighters tackled the blaze on the 144-year-old pier, and although the main building of the pier was completely destroyed firefighters were able to stop the blaze from spreading to the buildings at the end of the pier. It is currently unknown how long the pier will be out of action for, although the local council and politicians have said that they will do all they can to mimimise the impact on the town’s tourism and holiday economy. Read the BBC news article with pictures of the pier on fire here.
There have been calls for American TV channel NBC to cancel their show Shark Hunters. The programme takes the form of 60-minute documentary style episodes where fishermen along the east coast of the USA battle to catch the largest shark and win prize money for doing so. While the show puts forward flimsy conservation and research claims the species they target – mako, thresher and porbeagle sharks – are all classed as Vulnerable to Extinction by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) and most are killed during the course of the show. With these species becoming increasingly endangered and the show seen as glorifying and encouraging killing these species there is growing momentum for the show to be cancelled. Read about the criticisms of Shark Hunters here, and sign the petition to have the show cancelled here.