Last year, we took part in the Falmouth Spring Festival Clean event. Organised by Falmouth BID and Falmouth Bay Residents association, we were contacted to help. I combined with Fathoms Free, they organised the beach cleans, I organised the divers for the underwater section. We are doing the same event this year, 2018, with Fathoms Free.
Other events past and present
We did our 1st underwater litter pick in 2011 at Swanpool Beach in Falmouth. We then continued and did a clean from every beach and dive site from Durgan to Pendennis Headland. The underwater clean at Gyllyngvase attracted the media, we got it on BBC national news and BBC News 24 worldwide. Project Aware rang me to thank me for mentioning them on TV, they had been trying for years to get the issue of marine litter on TV without success. I think this was the event that inspired Rob to set up ‘Dive Against Debris’, later renamed to Fathoms Free. We continued doing the underwater litter picks, nowadays we don’t do organised cleans, all our divers do it automatically on shore and boat dives. My regular divers sometimes compete for who can collect the most. I even teach underwater litter picking in the SDI Open Water course, I have informed the Vice President of SDI about this addition. We also did a combined event with Neil Hembrow (Beach Care, part of Keep Britain Tidy) and Penryn Campus at Gylly with 17 divers taking part, collecting litter from underwater and the surface.
We have removed many nets, pieces of nets and old pots. October 2015 saw us remove the biggest from the Manacles, a marine conservation area – http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p036yq7q – which appeared on the BBC One Show. We did another big net in 2017 – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/uk-england-cornwall-40442092/animals-rescued-from-ghost-fishing-gear-in-cornwall – this one only appeared on BBC Online. We continue removing ghost gear and nets. During 2017 I came up with the idea of Ghost Gear Thursdays. Our boat went out every Thursday with FreediveUK training freedivers. When the boat was only half full, 4 divers came aboard (including me) and we sited the boat above a wreck, we then took turn removing ghost fishing gear. We did this 8 or more times during the summer, it will continue this summer. The Mylor fishermen tell us when they lose gear, we either recover it or re-buoy it for them, it stops it ghost fishing.
We have taken part in a few combined events with Fathoms Free and have more planned, our boat is listed on their MMO license for removing ghost gear and sea litter.
We have released juvenile lobsters for the National Lobster Hatchery as well, in excess of 25,000 around Falmouth so far.
On another note. For the last 3 or 4 years, I have been trying to get permission to do a small trial of Seagrass reseeding. The system I wanted to trial, has proved successful worldwide and I have the backing of the World Seagrass Organisation. The VP of the WSO, Dr Richard Unsworth, will even come and join in. After many emails going back and forth, Natural England came up with their demands. A range of studies, that if I did in conjunction with a degree course would probably earn me a decent degree. Dr Unsworth got involved and told them they were being ridiculous, asking a volunteer group to undertake such tasks. Especially for such a small project. The idea was to prove it works and encourage dive clubs and groups country wide to do a similar project, we could reseed acres of lost beds but I have almost lost interest.