We are recruiting!

Our Partners the National Trust have an exciting opportunity for a Ranger Trainee to join the teams working on the Whitehaven Coast and in Ennerdale.  The successful candidate for this 2.5 year post will be able to study for a Diploma in Countryside Management whilst gaining practical experience.  Details can be found at https://careers.nationaltrust.org.uk/OA_HTML/a/#/vacancy-detail/65103  Closing date is 7th May.  What’s stopping you??

Carpet sea-squirt – keep a look out

In March this year storm Emma hit Holyhead Marina, in North Wales, causing significant damage.  Despite efforts to contain debris from the damaged marina, some debris drifted out of the harbour area into the marine environment.  A consequence of this means there is potential for the carpet sea-squirt Didemnum vexillum (D. vex), a marine invasive non-native species, to spread to other areas.

The carpet sea-squirt us capable of forming large, flat colonies which reduce available habitat for other species.  As well as growing over rock, pebbles, boulders, cobbles and gravel, the carpet sea-squirt can also commonly be found on man-made structures such as boats, docks, moorings, ropes, chains, plastic and shellfish aquaculture gear.  More information can be found here.

Prior to Storm Emma the carpet sea-squirt was being contained within Holyhead marina after being fond on some of the floating pontoons and other artificial structures.  These structures were damaged during the storm and have floated some distance – a floating pontoon was found 37km away and polystyrene washed up in Wicklow is believed to have come from the marina.  So, there’s a chance we could find debris washing up on the Colourful Coast.

All sightings of possible debris in England should be reported to Natural England jan.maclennan@naturalengland.org.uk.   Where it is possible and safe to do so any debris found should be moved above the high tide line to prevent it from returning to the sea and help remove the risk of further spreading.

An advice note from Natural Resources Wales can be found below

Holyhead Marina Storm Emma Advice note Apr2018- D.vex 

Coastal Countryfile!

Our wonderful West Cumbrian coastline was featured on Countryfile this week!

The team visited Whitehaven to hear about what inspired local born artist Percy Kelly and also spent some time on the cliffs of St Bees with the RSPB hearing (and also seeing and smelling!) about the seabird colonies and why they find the sheer cliffs so ideal for nesting.  They also headed out onto the sea to learn about the voluntary netting ban which we’ve written about in our last post.

Countryfile also visited Walney Island, further down the Cumbrian coast, with the Cumbria Wildlife Trust, seeing the only grey seal colony in Cumbria.

You can watch the whole episode here

Voluntary fishing net ban around St Bees

Seabirds nesting on the cliffs at St Bees Head, Whitehaven

The NWIFCA (North Western Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority) is working with Natural England and RSPB to call for a voluntary ban on the use of fishing nets around St Bees Headland.

While it’s not common, there have been reports in previous years of birds getting caught in nets.  The voluntary Code of Practice will help to avoid this distressing situation.

The Code of Practice include a ban on the use of nets from 1st March until 15th July.  This covers the main breeding season for razorbills, guillemots and other sea birds which flock to the cliffs at St Bees to lay eggs on the sheer cliff faces.  When these birds dive in search of food they can potentially become caught in fishing nets.  The ban may be extended depending on when the chicks fledge so the NWIFCA and Natural England will continue to monitor the situation throughout the 2018 breeding season.

For more information visit the NWIFCA website.