The summer of 2018 has taken the team on their busiest fieldwork season to date, working on projects spanning the length of the country. The Lyme Bay monitoring survey saw its 11th year, with video footage collected using a towed array and baited remote underwater video systems (BRUVS) across the Lyme Bay MPA. This work, funded by the European Commission’s European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF), assesses the ecosystem response following the exclusion of towed demersal fishing gear in 2008.
Survey work was also undertaken in the Lyme Bay area as part of the ongoing work on Europe’s largest offshore mussel farm, and in Torbay where data collection for a three year project into the ecological effects of a local scallop ranch is now complete. As part of a Masters project, baseline camera surveys of wrasse populations in Plymouth Sound were carried out in collaboration with Devon & Severn IFCA. Towed video and grab sampling took place in Start Bay as part of the NERC BLUEcoast Project, and in Jersey as part of Samantha Blampied’s PhD with Jersey States, funded by the Blue Marine Foundation.
Project I-BASS is now well underway, with juvenile sea bass tagged across three estuaries in Devon this summer. The EMFF-funded project, which forms a part of Thomas Stamp’s PhD, utilises acoustic telemetry to track bass movements, helping to identify habitats which provide important nursery areas for these iconic fish. More details on this project are also available from the University of Plymouth.
Team members were then in Orkney at the European Marine Energy Centre for three weeks, using video methods to assess the impact of wave energy converters on the seabed as part of the Horizon 2020 Clean Energy From Ocean Waves project (CEFOW). Heading south again, the team have one last trip before being able to hang up their lifejackets for a few months. The last stop of this season will be to the Isles of Scilly, to work with the local Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority to form a monitoring plan and gather baseline data for the management of benthic assemblages within the Isles of Scilly Marine Conservation Zones.
Along the way, the team were excited to host an event at the University of Plymouth’s Marine Station to celebrate a decade of protection and monitoring of the Lyme Bay MPA, participate in public outreach projects such as Plymouth Pirate Weekend, Natural Seaton Festival and Devon County Show, and engage with Sky News for their coverage of Lewis Pugh’s “The Long Swim”, and the BBC’s “Our Blue Planet”.
Find out more about these projects here.