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Wales needs no-take marine zones | Kerry Lewis | TEDxAberystwyth

hi folks so my name is Carrie Lewis and
I am a lecturer here at marasmus I teach
in the law school and before I was a
lawyer I worked as an environmental
solicitor sorry ok I lived in this city
for quite a long time it turns out that
that didn’t really suit me very well I’m
not a city dweller and after I’d
qualified to the solicitor I ran away I
left and I went to Mexico and I’d
realized that I’ve been spending more
and more time going away weekends and so
on and I realized that where I wanted to
be was on the coast so I went to Mexico
and I did what was my first marine
conservation project I learned about how
to serve a coral reef I also spent some
time monitoring turtle nests which was
really exciting going out in the middle
of the night finding female turtles
nesting and then monitoring those nest
until then hatchlings came out and
making sure that as many as possible the
other thing we did in Mexico was
crocodile nesting surveys in these
mangroves which basically involved
clamming of clambering around through
mangrove roots trying to find crocodile
I found this slightly anxiety provoking
and when I asked what I’m supposed to do
if I found a crocodile I was told run
zig zag I don’t think that was
particularly safe way of going about
things but that was what we did anyway
and at the end of this project at the
end of my volunteering I was actually
invited to stay on and work there but a
very strange thing happened and I said
no and I decided to come home and I
think what was happening was that I had
a thing called here Ike this sense of
longing and wanting to come back and
come back to where I’d grown up and I
had this idea that I didn’t need
actually to go to the other side of the
world to find things that were really
special there were special things right
on my dolls
so I came back to Pembrokeshire and I
got involved with various diving
so most of diving I do is found in
Pembrokeshire I do not photography so
these are some of my favorite things
like being the water these are sea slugs
and they’re very interesting they’re
very pretty they’re very little so it’s
very exciting when you find one because
they’re really difficult to find but
they’re also quite interesting they can
tell us in a sense that there are lots
of other things if we see lots of
different sea slugs we know that we’re
seeing lots of other things in water
because every sea slug is adapted to eat
a very particular species and they have
these funny little they’re called Raja
bet they have these tongues which are
adapted to eat a very particular species
so if you see a sea slug you know that
the food eats must also be there these
pictures are all taken in the waters of
ants going on there over the years
they’ve recorded over 60 species of sea
slug just around sunrise and one of the
projects that I participate in is called
sea search it’s run by the Marine
Conservation Society and it trains
divers to go out and basically collect
habitat data and collect species data so
that that can go into the central
database called marine recorder and we
can find out more about what is
happening what there is out there in our
oceans this photograph is of a red
blenny and it’s a fish that is not
particularly rare but actually until I
saw that at the smalls lighthouse just
off the coast of Pembrokeshire last year
it had never been seen in Wales now
that’s not to say that anything has
changed it’s not to say that it’s an
indicator of global warming or any of
those things it simply shows that
there’s an awful lot we don’t know
it lives been very exposed areas so
areas but it difficult to get to areas
that it’s not easy to dive in and there
were all sorts of things that we still
have to learn about the ocean I also
find that lots of really fascinating
things this little rod of jelly is a sea
what I find incredible about this is
that it’s a chordate that means it’s in
the same group of animals that we are as
humans this tiny little blob of jelly
and in its larval stage it has the
beginnings of a notochord which in
humans and yeah if this tiny little blow
of jelly that just sits there on the
rock looking not particularly special I
call this one in a delicate moment that
one is having a poo the other project I
work with volunteer is not its net genes
Army’s rubbish collectors and it’s a
group of divers who spend time again
around the coast of temperature
collecting ghost fishing gear so every
year all sorts of fishing gear is lost
through no fault of the fisherman is
just out there at sea and it’s an
indication of the pressures that are
facing the marine environment so this is
just an example but there are all sorts
of pressures facing the marine
environment one of them is overfishing
current estimates reports are suggesting
that 85 percent of the world’s fisheries
are at or beyond safe ecological limits
for fishing and now the pressure is
marine plastics there are reports at the
moment they’re suggesting that by 2050
there will be more plastic in the ocean
by weight than fish it’s terrifying
another pressure obviously is climate
change the seas are warming and as the
temperature goes up so does the
ecosystem change so do the habitats
change that these animals are trying to
surviving but all of these things happen
very gradually they’re not immediate
they don’t happen rapidly and what
happens is because they happen so
gradually it creates a kind of new
normal and it means that as time changes
and as generations move on the baseline
and what we think of is normal changes
and it’s something that’s been called
shifting baseline syndrome so that each
new generation thinks that what they are
seeing is the natural normal condition
of the environment now in response to
some of these pressures the world
conservation Angra has suggested that we
should be protecting more of the world’s
oceans and they suggest that by 2030 we
should have 30% of the oceans in fully
protected marine reserves
so that means areas where there is no
extractive activity taking place so that
we’re not fishing we’ve got a long way
to go at the moment a little over 1% of
the global oceans are protected in
reserves why would we do it well it’s a
response to those pressures there are
benefits there are some of the areas
around the world no-take zones were
highly protected marine reserves and
studies have shown that they can improve
the populations in those areas so the
animals in those areas are have better
breeding success the individuals that
live in those areas are bigger they
spread there’s a thing called overspill
so the animals don’t stay in the area
they don’t know where the boundary of
the zone is and they will move out into
the areas around it so they will
increase the abundance abundance in
which can be benefit for fishermen it
can also be a benefit for tourism
because people can come and see what
this area now looks like that is doing
so much better and it potentially could
restore the baseline it could take us
back to what the old normal used to look
like so how are we doing in Wales well
fantastic news by the looks of things
we’ve got 50% of welsh waters that are
protected in marine protected area
and what we can see here all of those
are all those shaded areas on that map
are marine protected areas but those
none of them are free from extractive
activity the special areas of
conservation and special protection
areas that cover most of it are
designated for very specific features so
for example Cardigan Bay is a special
area of conservation it’s designated to
the bottom those dolphin among other
things it’s also designated for some of
its habitat but extractive activities
are still allowed to go ahead and
there’s a debate going on at the moment
about whether we should have Golic
dredging going the more alert amongst
you will notice that those percentages
don’t add up to 50% and that’s because
there’s a lot of overlap the other thing
about these areas special areas of
conservation and special protection
areas that are taking up most of the
time most of the coverage are actually
European sites so we’re not sure what’s
going to happen to these as we leave the
European Union but there’s one very
special area that I want to talk to you
about and that’s go marine conservation
zone you probably can’t see it on this
map there’s a very tiny little orange
blob so zoomed in for you it’s been a
very tiny little orange blob okay its
13th working on the close and it’s less
than 0.1% of welsh water the designation
of this site is slightly different than
the others because it’s not designating
a particular feature it’s designated for
the general flora and fauna in the area
it’s been protected for a long time and
it’s an area where we know we’ve got a
lot of information that’s been a lot of
research there are lots of fire laws in
place so one of the things is that there
is no dredging and there is no bottom
trawling so the seabed habitats there
have been able to recover and we’ve been
able to see what that means it’s also
to take a scholar so if I go out diving
and I come out of the water with one
scholar I can be fine five thousand
pounds and I can have all my divekick
taken off me but it’s not a no-take
saying it’s not completely free of
extractive activity so this is a lobster
pot it’s completely lawful that that
lobster pot is bare and then grow at the
side is the boy to the surface and
there’s all sorts of angling line caught
up on it angling is also allowed in the
reserve and that starry smooth hand
which is kind of shark has been
attracted by that fishing gear that
appears to be still fishing and it’s got
tangled up and it’s not been able to
leave so my buddies actually managed to
cut free this fish and although it was
an emaciated State it obviously been
there quite a long time it actually swam
free and the other thing about fishing
gear is that when you’re dropping a
lobster pot you can’t see where it’s
going to land now this is a seafoam it’s
a cool going here it’s a type of soft
conical and it’s very very slow-growing
it grows about ten millimeters a year
it’s very lucky that that pot landed
where it did equally if there was a
strong swell it’s quite possible that
that pot is going to knock that phone
over and because it’s so delicate
because it’s so slow growing is going to
take a very long time to restore and if
that’s happening all kinds of different
places around the habitat these hands
also support other life now this is one
of my little mysteries this is one of my
favorite things this is another sea slug
and this is the pink seafoam slug it
lives on sea fans and it only eats sea
fans but it’s weird you can dive most of
the year and not see a slug and then at
some point in maybe June they appear
on a few of the sea fans around the
reserve like they lay their eggs they
hang out for a few weeks and then they
disappear again
so not percent of no-take zones in Wales
nowhere near not even started on that
30% target that the World Conservation
Congress good news we’ve got legislation
in Wales that the marine and coastal
access Act allows the designation of
marine conservation zones for the
general conservation of flora and fauna
it doesn’t matter if this species of
rare or threatened and the welsh
ministers have got the powers if they
choose to do so to make this a highly
protected marine conservation zone and
to create bylaws to make sure that there
are no within that point 1 percent of
welsh waters could be our first step it
would contribute to a fantastically
piece of progressive legislation and
progressive ambition in wales that is
called the well-being of future
it’s got a number of bowls that we’re
trying to achieve one of which is the
resilient Wales goal
so we’re looking for a nation which
maintains and enhances a biodiversity
environment it’s about trying to protect
our ecosystems
it’s forward-looking and its long-term
it also would contribute to the
principle of sustainable development
which is in a principle an international
law which is also enshrined in Welsh
legislation and it’s about ensuring that
future generations are able to meet
their needs if we took this first step
of protecting this tiny little bit of
sea around
we would be protecting something with we
are borrowing from our future
generations so I hope you’ll agree that
it’s time to have marine reserves in
Wales but creation of a no-take zone
lands going islands which contribute to
these goals
it would allow return to the old normal
it would give us a chance to see what
that old baseline looks like and it
would give future generations a chance
to really learn and see what a properly
protected a properly looked after marina
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