Queenborough Harbour needs volunteers

Queenborough Harbour Trust is looking for volunteers who will help us to strengthen our focus on developing good environmental practices. This would involve assisting us with:

  • Working with environmental agencies. Currently the harbour area comes under the jurisdiction of two Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs), Special Protection Area (SPA), Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Natural England. We are looking for volunteers to help us interpret their requirements and represent us to them.
  • Representing the environment in our written and social media. This would include assisting with words and pictures to go into the QHT Harbour Guide, Newsletter, QHT website and Facebook. Topics would include bird, fish, mammal identification, the dangers of invasive species, current and future schemes to preserve and enhance the environment.
  • Running events in conjunction with environmental organisations such as Kent Wildlife Trust to help raise the awareness of our mooring holders, visitors and the general public of the unique environment which is on our doorstep.
  • Carrying out practical activities such as bird surveys at different times of the year, auditing QHT’s activities for their environmental impact, e.g. waste management, organising beach cleans and so on.

If you are interested, then we would very much like to hear from you and discuss the help that you can offer and the support that we can give.  Please contact the Harbour Controller on 01795 662 051 or email operations@queenborough-harbour.co.uk

Oyster trestles obstruct navigation at Whitstable

Following a complaint by Whitstable Yacht Club, a report published on the Marine Management Organisation’s website acknowledges that the presence of oyster trestles causes or is likely to cause obstruction or danger to navigation, whilst concluding that the farm’s operations are nevertheless acceptable as a low risk to marine navigation.

In response, the RYA has formally written to the Director of Marine Licensing at the MMO setting out their concerns with the report and arguing that the measures put in place since the investigation started do not negate the need for a marine licence. The RYA considers that these trestles require a full marine licence on the basis that they could cause obstruction or danger to navigation.

Read more on RYA website…

Further delay to opening of East Farleigh lock

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.

River Medway Nursery Area: No-Take Zone

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

Stangate Creek now no anchoring zone

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.

3 metre storm surge tonight

Storm surgeOwing to the low pressure system passing over the southern North Sea, the tide at Sheerness is forecast to be three metres over the astronomical prediction at about 9pm this evening. Fortunately this does not coincide with high water. Our friends up the East Coast and over on the Continent may not be so lucky.

Dolphins spotted in Medway

dolphin

Photo Ken Waller

A common dolphin, not so common in the Medway, photographed by a member of Hoo Ness YC from a boat coincidentally called Dolphin

See more pics…

Porpoises return to Medway – UPDATED

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 webmaster@msba.org.uk

UPDATE: A couple of porpoises have been spotted as far upstream as Rochester Cruising Club. Any advance?

Marine planning: next phase announced

The Marine Management Organisation announces the next phase of English marine plans, along with updates on the South and East Marine Plans. Marine planning events are taking place the week of Monday 11 April.  The events are an introduction to marine planning, for you to meet your local marine planner and to find out more about what marine planning involves, and how you can get involved. The MMO will also be demonstrating their Marine Information System and the evidence base where you can view some of the evidence already gathered for your area.

The events are open sessions, including a number of scheduled presentations on marine planning. These will be held hourly, beginning at the start times shown below.

South East

  • Whitstable: 11 April, 9am to 12pm, Whitstable Waterfront, CT5 2BP
  • London: 13 April, 9am to 12pm, Mary Sumner House, SW1P 3RB
  • Colchester: 15 April, 9am to 12pm, Lake View Room University of Essex, CO4 3SQ

For more information regarding marine planning in the South East, please contact Peter Cosgrove, London, Peter.cosgrove@marinemanagement.org.uk

Swale Estuary declared an MCZ

Today the Government has declared the “Swale Estuary” among 23 new Marine Conservation Zones.  This designation is intended to protect fragile environments, ecosystems and threatened species though no management measures have been agreed or even proposed so it is impossible for boating organisations to know how they will be affected and to comment in any useful way. The Medway Estuary was previously declared an MCZ in Tranche 1. Read more…