Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Cornwall's 'Dolphin disaster'

Last weekend, a mass stranding of Dolphins left 21 dead on the Cornish shores and many more in great distress, 'the biggest mass stranding in 27 years'. What exactly happened is still unsure with some claiming that Navy signals put the dolphins off course leading them into the river. It is thought that around 15 dolphins got caught in the Percuil River near Falmouth before stranding in Porth Creek. These dolphins were then thought to have attracted others by putting out distress signals.

Lifeboat crews called the scene 'carnage' as 20 dolphins died and 1 was put down by vets. The other 60 dolphins in the pod all managed to swim back down the river and to safety. The bodies have all been removed for post mortem to try and establish exactly what happened.

Sadly I could not attend the BDMLR rescue as I was stuck with tonsillitis, but the organisation has put out messages to say they are still on high alert due to the unknown causes. BDMLR do great work every time a mammal is left stranded or in distress. The good work they do should be noted and the courses they give are free so become a member of their team and help them to help marine animals in trouble.

Thursday, 5 June 2008

End test - 04/06/08

End test summerisation

The end test for Coastal Zone management was a summery of the subjects studied over the past two years.

The assignment looked at global issues affecting the coastal zone and those involved in it. There are a large amount of issues which impact the coastal zone, from sea level rise to exploitation of resources and loss of species to pollution. It is difficult to put factors which have a negative impact of the coast into numerical order of the most important, as different issues have different impacts on different areas and it is hard to say who is the most important and who deserves the most benefit/attention. Many of these factors interlink with each other to create a whole web of coastal issues, for example, expolitation of resources and fishing lead to destruction of habitats and loss of species.
To review the people affected by these issues; the answer is pretty much everyone. No matter whether you are by the coast or inland, factors affecting the coast will touch you in some way. Whether it be via a job or just simply that you eat fish, there will be something that affects your life indirectly. There are, of course, many people who are affected directly, such as those who live and work by the sea - fishermen, people in the watersports industry, people in the boating industry, people in the tourist industry, coastal dwellers, organisations such as DEFRA, MCA, English Nature, Cornwall Wildlife Trust etc.

The final part of the test focused on the workings of the Devon Maritime Forum. This is an organisation set up to raise marine and maritime issues to help gain sustainability and give evryone a voice on Coastal issues. It invites everyone to take part in marine matters in order to try and safeguard one of our greatest resources; the coast.

The forum has been active since 2005 and holds meetings with representatives to discuss important issues. It is open to the public to become members and also liasons with Devon Council, National Trust, Natural England, South West Water, Environment Agency, Plymouth University and Wildlife Trust Devon.

The question discusses certain conflicts of the Coastal zone and how an organisation such as the Devon Maritime Forum is useful to resolve these conflicts. The forum gets people involved in issues together to have their say and try and come to agreements over particular issues. It also considers how organisations such as the Devon Maritime Forum can best get its message out to try and raise awareness and interest in the coastal zone so that it is a consensus, and everyone gets their own say.

Please visit the Devon Maritime Forum at http://www.devonmaritimeforum.org.uk/ for more information and membership.

As this was the end test for the foundation degree, it is now time to start considering the future and career aspects. On a personal note, I am unsure of areas which to go into. Originally, I wanted to go into marine research, but as the two years have progressed and I now realise that Coastal issues are the most important and interesting aspect to me. I wish to stay in Cornwall and try and have some use in the County as I do not believe it gets the work and funding needed. Plus, I believe working in the UK is more important to me than going abroad and taking work there. There are many organisations in Cornwall which do good work who always require more staff and volunteers such as Cornwall Wildlife Trust, English Nature and the National Trust. All these organisations need people to work to try and make a difference to the coastal zone. As there is still a third year to go, I am hoping that a future career will become more clear after the third year of the degree and that something will submerge as being the aspect I want to go into. As the third year steers away from Marine and starts to look at Conservation and the Environment as a whole, the career path I go down may not be necessarily in the Marine industry, although I hope that it is. I am looking forward to studying the marine mammal part of the course and having previously worked with Seals and enjoyed it, am considering that this may be a future career path. If this is the case, there is a Masters degree at Bangor specifically desgined to study marine mammals.

As I still have no concrete ideas about what my future holds the most important thing for me to look into right now is continuing volunteer and part-time work which is linked to areas I am interested in, to try and expand my areas of interest and knowledge, and try and find a path which is right for me.

Jobs currently available from some organisations: