Sadly, the large sperm whale that had been seen in difficulty off Whitstable on 30 January subsequently died. The carcass was towed to a mooring in the Medway before being taken to Sheerness for an autopsy, which revealed that the unfortunate creature had not eaten for some time.
David Metcalfe of Lower Halstow Yacht Club saw a pair of harbour porpoises in the mouth of the Medway yesterday. Here’s one of them!
Kevin Duvall of Kent Wildlife Trust has contacted the MSBA because no-one else was able to help trace this boat. For several weeks a blue cabin cruiser has been stranded on the shingle bank at Castle Coote between Whitstable and Faversham. There are no identification marks on the boat to enable tracing of the owner. Worryingly, it is very close to a nesting site for little terns, a bird almost extinct as a breeding species in Kent.
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Sailing past Sheerness Dock on Saturday, your webmaster thought he was imagining it when he heard the captain of the huge car carrier call Medway VTS saying, “We’ve got a whale carcass on our bulbous bow.” He later called again to say it had slipped off when the ship reversed away from the dock. Read more at Kent Online…
In addition to the delay in repairing the lock wall, a pair of Grey Wagtails have made a nest in a key part of the construction site. The contractors are unable to work near the nest until the young birds have fledged. The earliest date for the lock to re-open is now 21 July. The footpath and canoe portage remain passable.
UPDATE: The fledglings have now flown so the lock is expected to open by 21 July.
Working with Rochester Oyster and Floating Fishery, Kent and Essex Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA) is leading the way in marine conservation with the creation of the UK’s largest no-take zone in the Medway Estuary.
The no-take zone covers 12.1 square kilometres (4.6 square miles) of saltmarsh and mudflat environments that are vitally important to a wide variety of fish. The shallow waters have been identified as a nursery area, as they provide a refuge for fish during their juvenile stages, allowing them to shelter from predators and storms whilst supporting an abundance of prey sources.
The River Medway Nursery Area No-Take Zone byelaw prohibits any fishing activity within the intertidal areas along the northern banks of the estuary, spanning from Hoo Marina to Elphinstone Point. This includes angling and netting from boat or shore, and bait digging. Anyone caught fishing within the restricted area may be liable for prosecution.
For more information, visit: http://www.kentandessex-ifca.gov.uk/im-interested-in/mpas/medway-nursery-area/
Follow the Kent and Essex IFCA on Twitter: @KentEssexIFCA
Anchoring in Stangate Creek in the heart of the Medway Estuary, which is a Marine Conservation Zone, is to be prohibited from today, April 1st, following the discovery of several colonies of tentacled lagoon worms Alkmaria romijni. These creatures normally only grow to a few millimetres but in the unique environmental conditions of the creek several specimens have been found up to a metre long hiding in the hitherto unsuspected coral formations. Known until now only to local fishermen, who used to supply the delicacy to the scampi factory in Queenborough, the worms are thought to have arrived on the bottoms of ships quarantined in the creek in the nineteenth century. A spokesman for the harbour authority, now known as Peel Ports London, announced that special worm-friendly moorings for recreational boaters will be installed using funds accumulated over many years from conservancy fees.
There have been several sightings (including by your webmaster) of harbour porpoises in the Medway in the last few weeks, as far up as Rochester Bridge. The presence of these small members of the dolphin family suggests a good supply of fish, probably as a result of tighter environmental legislation and the decline of local industry. These mammals are shy and if you blink you miss them! If you are lucky enough to get a photo please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
UPDATE: A couple of porpoises have been spotted as far upstream as Rochester Cruising Club. Any advance?
Mark Loos of the Medway Swale Estuary Partnership asks us to look at this tentative list of projects that came out of the recent consultation. He would be most grateful if you could forward any comments that you or your organisation may have on the list, by Friday 5 December at the latest. Even if you’re happy with the projects themselves, maybe your organisation can help with delivery? Please take this opportunity to ensure that we have the right projects and right partners in place, to ensure that the action plan is a success.