Marine Biology

Marine Biology - Spring 2015

2015 is a year of Big tides and the Marine Biology Section is making the most of them with several trips planned throughout the year to the further extents of our rocky shores.  Notices of these are posted in the Monthly email updates.  So far in 2015 the Section has visited Portelet and Icho Tower.  Portelet proved an interesting study with a full shore thing survey carried out and several encouraging finds made acorss the west end of the bay.  Highlights included the Four-horned Spider-crab and an extensive shelf of pink plate weed.

A February walk to Icho tower and beyond revealed several interesting funds including a very healthy Seagrass (Zostra) bed amongst the kelp beds to the south east of the tower.  Finds included a mature Jersey flat oyster, diverse crustacea, two large tompot blennies, a freshwater eel, Dahlia Anemone and a White Brittlestar.  Plans are afoot to produce a new video for the Marine Biology Association (UK) Shore Thing Project here in Jersey.  As well as helping the Section to better engage island schools with the Shore Thing project the video will be used nationally with school and community groups interested in learning about the Shore Thing technique.  The Section's objective is to engage secondary school students froma cross the island in carrying out surveys and working with their data to help develop their scientific skills and hopefully encourage their interest in Ecology.  This work is being supported by our corporate sponsors Moore Stephens with additional grants won from both the Channel Island Insurance Corporation's Environmental Awards and the Channel Island Co-operative Eco Fund.

The Section's new book - The Seashore Life of Jersey, collated and edited by Paul Chambers, has sold well with the initial print run of 270 running out before Christmas, new stock is now in the bookshop and Société members can pick up a copy for just £10 (local RRP £15).  The book was sponsored by our corporate partners Nedbank Private Wealth, and as part of the sponsorship all island schools will receive a free copy of the book.

Work has continued with the Marine Resources Panel and its other members to enhance the island's sustainable fisheries and ensure that the marine environment and those that depend upon it for their livelihoods are able to exist in balance in the future.  While a complex project all parties involved including the Jersey Fishermen's Association, Jersey Recreational Fishermen and Marine Resources Section of the Environment Department have all worked collaboratively to find equitable solutions to the long term management of our Island's marine resources.  A focus of much interest is the beach set nets that seem to have increased in size and number over recent years.  It seems unlikely that these are being used solely for domestic purposes anymoer and there is a move among industry and conservationists to see tighter controls on them - especially in regard to their use on a commercial scale.  In addition to the direct fishing impact the increasing use of 4x4's on the beach to service the nets is worrying both form the compacting of sediment and potential for marine pollution point of view.

Section members contributed to a Marine Resources consultation on the future of the Ramsar management authoirty and are keenly looking forward to a new more active body being established to manage these important areas of our coast in 2015.

The winter has seen several strandings of short nose Common Dolphins, majority Female.  This appears unusally high and is being investigated in comparison to UK and French data.

The Section was pleased to take on the display cabinets in the Members' Room for the fist half of 2015.  Several members contributed to the display now set out in the cases using a variety of text and visual aids to cover subjects including invasive and declining species, beach litter, flooded gullies and maerl surveys carried out in partnership with SeaSearch Jersey.

- Francis Binney, Chairman.

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