Marine Biopolymers - Kelp Harvesting

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branwell
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Marine Biopolymers - Kelp Harvesting

Post by branwell » Thu Aug 23, 2018 8:05 pm

A company called Marine Biopolymers have applied for a licence to harvest sea kelp on a large commercial scale. They plan to mechanically dredge kelp from vast areas of the west coast of Scotland, with particular focus on the seas around Mull, Coll and Tiree. Ripping out kelp by its roots will have a HUGE detrimental effect on the marine ecosystem, and is not sustainable no matter what this company claims.

We have until 5pm tomorrow, 24 August 2018, to email Marine Licensing Scotland and object to the company's application for a licence. The email address is: MS.marinelicensing@gov.scot.

If you want more information on this, check out the facebook page called 'Stop Mechanical Kelp Dredging'.

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Re: Marine Biopolymers - Kelp Harvesting

Post by Chris Bolton » Thu Aug 23, 2018 9:07 pm

Email sent - but at this stage, I believe it's just a scoping application, and much deeper consideration will have to be given before a licence is granted.

My email received a standard acknowledgement, saying that it could take 10 days before I would receive a response, so anyone emailing, make sure you mention Kelp Dredging in the subject.

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Re: Marine Biopolymers - Kelp Harvesting

Post by neonbowhawk » Thu Aug 23, 2018 11:01 pm

Email sent.

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Re: Marine Biopolymers - Kelp Harvesting

Post by rockhopper » Fri Aug 24, 2018 12:45 am

Email also sent.

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Mark Gawler
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Re: Marine Biopolymers - Kelp Harvesting

Post by Mark Gawler » Fri Aug 24, 2018 8:23 am

On the face of it this is doesn’t sound good. The original post is written with a clear bias against, which is understandable, but are there any links to background information so people can make an informed decision. Obviously there will be short term damage to the local environment, but how long will the damage last? What is the scale of the operation? Looking at the bigger picture, what are the environmental (and economic) benefits of kelp harvesting?
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Re: Marine Biopolymers - Kelp Harvesting

Post by john.ruston » Fri Aug 24, 2018 8:48 am

Thank you Mark, email sent anyway. Manual gathering of kelp and other sea weed has a long history in Ireland and I'm sure I won't be the only person to have misgivings about commercial harvesting.
It's Lammas Fair in Ballycastle (Its BIG) and the traditional snack is Dulse. It's hand picked off the rocks. The pickers won't thank anyone trying to introduce licensing or machine harvesting. There are also rumours that foreign harvesters are interested in finding back door ways of accessing edible seaweeds in pristine Irish waters to satisfy their lucrative home markets. There's no telling where this could end.

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Re: Marine Biopolymers - Kelp Harvesting

Post by Pipit » Fri Aug 24, 2018 9:08 am

Mark Gawler wrote:
Fri Aug 24, 2018 8:23 am
On the face of it this is doesn’t sound good. The original post is written with a clear bias against, which is understandable, but are there any links to background information so people can make an informed decision. Obviously there will be short term damage to the local environment, but how long will the damage last? What is the scale of the operation? Looking at the bigger picture, what are the environmental (and economic) benefits of kelp harvesting?
Their scoping report can be read here:
http://marine.gov.scot/sites/default/fi ... 18lr_0.pdf

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Re: Marine Biopolymers - Kelp Harvesting

Post by rockhopper » Fri Aug 24, 2018 2:55 pm

Norway has a similar harvesting technique in some areas and there is strong evidence that it is very damaging for the environment, affecting not just populations of species living in the immediate area but also affecting the juvenile fish stocks that use the kelp as shelter from predators. I think that there is a fairly large difference between harvesting of seaweed when it is cut and harvesting when it is ripped out roots and all. Research suggests that even after 5 years the area still looks fairly denuded if it is ripped up.
There was a programme on recently with seaweed harvesters operating out of Coverack. They were only allow to dive to collect and cut the seaweed so that it grew back fairly quickly. That being said, they were not harvesting kelp which may not grow/recuperate in the same way.

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Re: Marine Biopolymers - Kelp Harvesting

Post by rockhopper » Fri Aug 24, 2018 3:11 pm

Having scanned the report it seems clear that cutting the kelp does not mean that the plant regenerates from the original holdfast and by leaving the holdfast in place it may well reduce the ability for new kelp plants to establish themselves... so it is not like some of the other types of seaweed that are harvested. More research needed I think!

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Re: Marine Biopolymers - Kelp Harvesting

Post by Pipit » Sat Aug 25, 2018 9:07 am

Having spent years doing Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) and disturbance studies, I find it quite surprising that there doesn't seem (at the moment) to be a statutory requirement for a full EIA for this proposal. In my view, the higher the number of unknown perimeters and risks due to the relative lack of previous research and knowledge of the given proposal's impacts, the the higher the requirement for a full EIA. There are, however, fairly strict licensing requirements to be fulfilled before this can go ahead. Unlike many terrestrial EIAs, where some/most of the risks can often be assessed through some initial desk-study based research and previous well-accepted premises, I would argue that this proposal is one that should require a full EIA before any licenses are even considered.

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Re: Marine Biopolymers - Kelp Harvesting

Post by john.ruston » Fri Nov 23, 2018 9:59 pm

Friday 23. November.
Tonight.
BBC Parliament channel just included debate at the Scottish Parliament on mechanical dredging for kelp.
The brief debate touched on the desirability of the practice and also the impartiality of the regulatory authority (Marine Scotland I think). A member read out from letters obtained under FOI rules - the regulator apparently offering to support a companies application to dredge.

This may be some other company of course, a different application and using different techniques but it doesn't bode well if the regulator is predisposed to support one side of a licensing process against the other.

While it was pleasant to watch the responsible government officer squirm under questioning her firm and repeated assertion of the primacy of novel enterprises and of economic necessity is not encouraging.

Did anyone who wrote in to lodge an objection get any response apart from that automatic receipt??
John
Co. Antrim

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Re: Marine Biopolymers - Kelp Harvesting

Post by Chris Bolton » Fri Nov 23, 2018 10:07 pm

Thanks for the update, John. I didn't receive any response other than the receipt.

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Re: Marine Biopolymers - Kelp Harvesting

Post by jmmoxon » Sat Nov 24, 2018 6:03 am

Doesn't look as though they are getting it all their own way:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland- ... s-46303185

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Re: Marine Biopolymers - Kelp Harvesting

Post by StanGuz » Sat Nov 24, 2018 1:10 pm

During the winter storms, tonnes of seaweed is washed up naturally on beaches everywhere. I wonder why they can't use this? That would not only clear the beaches, but would be easier than dredging.
What could possibly go wrong......?

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Re: Marine Biopolymers - Kelp Harvesting

Post by john.ruston » Sat Nov 24, 2018 3:12 pm

Mixed species and contamination in the wrack StanGuz.
Most likely they don't want the chore of picking out the plastic rubbish.

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Re: Marine Biopolymers - Kelp Harvesting

Post by O2b » Sat Nov 24, 2018 5:19 pm

E mail sent. Is it also worth creating an appeal that we could all sign and send to the Scottish Govt?
Jim.

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Re: Marine Biopolymers - Kelp Harvesting

Post by john.ruston » Sat Nov 24, 2018 9:55 pm


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